Andre Drummond

Drummond describes how Embiid swayed him to rejoin Sixers 

Embiid's excitement helped convince Drummond to come back to the Sixers.

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Andre Drummond was more than happy to take the call from his former rival. 

He went from scrapping against Joel Embiid to backing him up in the 2021-22 season. And when Embiid heard this summer that a second Drummond stint with the Sixers might be on the table, he wanted to lock it in. 

“I would talk to him periodically throughout the year,” Drummond said Tuesday afternoon at the Sixers’ training complex in Camden, New Jersey. “Any time he had good games or he was on my mind, I’d check on him. We always stayed in constant communication, so that relationship never died. 

“The moment that he found out there was a possibility I was going to come here, he called me immediately. I respected that; I loved that the most. He FaceTimed me like, ‘Bro, we doing this? What are we doing? What’s happening?’ His excitement overall was truly the pushing factor in me coming here.”

Drummond’s back after being shipped out in the Sixers’ trade for James Harden, then spending a half-season with the Nets and two with the Bulls. 

He decided to sign a two-year, $10 million contract in free agency that has a player option for the 2025-26 season.

“I definitely had a couple of different options I could’ve looked at, but this one made the most sense for me,” he said. “It’s familiar, I know what I’m going to get here, and we have a great team.” 

Along with playing behind Embiid and stepping into the starting center job whenever the seven-time All-Star is sidelined, the Sixers will hope Drummond can address their rebounding woes last season.

The Sixers ranked 26th in defensive rebounding rate during the regular season and second-to-last during the playoffs, according to Cleaning the Glass.

“I think that’s why I’m here — to eliminate a lot of those issues,” Drummond said. “I’m happy to be valued in that sense, to see the bigger picture. Not just be here for the season, but see my skill set for the playoffs. I’m excited for that.”

It is almost impossible to exaggerate Drummond’s consistent rebounding excellence. 

Last year, he topped the NBA in rebounding percentage. He’s No. 1 all time in that statistic. At 30 years old, he’s 33rd in league history in total rebounds (10,671) and 14th in rebounds per game (12.4).

“I pride myself on that,” Drummond said. “I set out for that from my rookie year — to be the best there ever was to do it.

“And I still stand on that to this day: I’m the best rebounder to ever play this game and I’m going to make sure I leave that mark.” 

He’s obviously got a very clear idea of what he’ll provide the Sixers when Embiid heads to the bench.

“Now that I’m back, they know what to expect from me,” Drummond said. “You’re getting a dog. You’re getting exactly what you’re looking for. You’re getting somebody who’s going to put that fight and bring that force, bring that energy each and every night. 

“I don’t back down from anybody and I’m here to put a fire into some people’s ass.”

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