Andre Drummond sees Philadelphia 76ers as 'great fit' despite previous drama with Joel Embiid

In the wake of Andre Drummond's surprising decision to join the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency and become a backup to longtime rival Joel Embiid, the 27-year-old two-time All-Star said that "things change," but he'd accepted the opportunity placed before him.

"In life, things change, and it's nothing that is affecting me at all, or making me feel any type of way," Drummond said in a video conference call in the wake of his signing becoming official Thursday. "That's the role that's been given to me. It's something that I've accepted and I'm willing to do.

"If it's in the best interest of the team to win, it has to get done."

Drummond, who has led the NBA in rebounding four times and has made two All-Star teams and an All-NBA team in his career, was arguably the biggest name on the buyout market when he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. But the fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis proved cumbersome, and Drummond was eventually left on the bench as a healthy scratch for what turned out to be the final game of the Lakers' season, Game 6 of their Western Conference first-round series with the Phoenix Suns.

When asked why he didn't re-sign with the Lakers, after they had indicated during the season they would want to bring him back beyond last season, Drummond said the moves the Lakers had made removed that as a possibility.

"You know, times are changing, and they made different trades and changes to their team to where it didn't make sense for me to go back there, so I took the next-best thing after that, which was to come to Philly," Drummond said. "I think it's a great fit for me."

It certainly was a surprising fit -- both because of Drummond's résumé, having started all but one game he's played in since his rookie year with the Detroit Pistons, and because of his long-standing back-and-forths with Embiid, who has trolled him incessantly. Embiid has several rivalries with big men around the league.

But Drummond said he didn't take any of that personally, and that it wasn't anything he had to put behind him in deciding to join Philadelphia this offseason.

"I think for me there was never any real beef," Drummond said. "At the end of the day, it's the game of basketball. It's a heated game. We're both competitive. The way we play is we, sometimes we talk. I don't think it goes any further than that.

"I don't think there's any real beef, or malice towards each other. It's part of the game. We're on the same team now. It's not something I'm thinking about or anything that's really bothering me."

Drummond also said the decision to play for the Sixers was heavily influenced by the presence of Doc Rivers, whom he's known since he was in high school.

"I think for me, making the decision to come to Philly was based off Doc really having the faith in me to really help this team do something special. Whatever my role is, me coming off the bench in the prime of my career, it doesn't really matter. I can still be effective coming off the bench and backing up Joel.

"I think it was a no-brainer. I've always wanted to play for Doc. When I got the chance to play for him, I took the chance."