The San Antonio Spurs and forward LaMarcus Aldridge have agreed to mutually part ways. In an interview with head coach Gregg Popovich, the longtime head coach said that Aldridge will no longer be suiting up with the team. This brings the 35-year-old forward into the trade rumor mill.
Aldridge in the past two years has been in the trade rumor mill. As the Spurs have been rebuilding around their young guards. The 35-year-old is looking to go to a contender, as he has yet reached a Finals appearance in his career. Aldridge is averaging 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds on 46-36-83 shooting splits. Aldridge is no longer in his prime, and his health is questionable for the long term. Even with these concerns, Aldridge is still a valuable asset to a team that needs a low post scorer.
Boston Celtics Interest
The biggest contender for the Aldridge sweepstakes should be the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have been struggling all season. The team struggles offensively when either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum are both shooting under 50% from the field in a game. Aldridge would provide a much-needed scoring option. Aldridge is a great high post scorer and is an efficient mid-range shooter. The pick and pop play would be reintroduced into the Celtics playbook with Aldridge on the court. The 35-year-old forward would come off the bench, as the team is in desperate need of a player who can take the offensive hand for the second unit.
Aldridge is on an expiring contract, as he currently makes $24 million for this season. He will become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The trade value for Aldridge would not be high, and the Celtics have a large trade exception that needs to be used soon. Boston should trade for Aldridge. Using the trade exception and add their first-round pick with a lottery pick protection on it. This trade would benefit the Spurs as they will be receiving a first-round pick that could be used to bolster their young rotation.
Aldridge in Boston would be a great fit, as the forward can provide a much-needed offensive boost off the bench. Even if Aldridge were to start in Boston, his offensive skill chart would help the team overcome their woes of this season. There will be other suitors for the service of Aldridge. The price of his value could be raised depending on the offers made by other teams. Teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and Milwaukee Bucks could make a larger offer. This would have to push General Manager Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics to add a young player to the deal to acquire the veteran forward.
There is an on-off chance that the Spurs do not find a trade partner in time for the March 25th trade deadline. This would be devastating for San Antonio, as then Aldridge would want to be bought out. This would create a surplus of interest in the veteran forward. Aldridge’s contract of $24 million would be bought out by the Spurs, thus making him a free agent. Aldridge would be more comfortable signing for the veteran minimum for the remainder of the year. Teams that are unable to afford him through a trade scenario would then be able to sign him for cheap.
Teams such as the Brooklyn Nets could add yet another former all-star to the team. Other suitors would include the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. Aldridge has mentioned that at some point in his career. The veteran would like to return to the Portland Trail Blazers and play with Superstar Damian Lillard. Aldridge spent most of his career in Portland and then was traded before Lillard became an All-star. A homecoming is not out of the picture if the veteran becomes a free agent. Many Portland fans would want their former franchise player back home.