LaMarcus Aldridge will not be returning to the San Antonio Spurs as the team tries to work out a trade for the 35-year old former All-Star. Unlike the Blake Griffin scenario where his contract was bought out, the Spurs are trying to negotiate a trade before the March 25th NBA deadline to avoid paying Aldridge the rest of his contract.
Aldridge is 35-years old and in his 15th season in the NBA. In his prime while on the Portland Trail Blazers, Aldridge was one of the best big men in the league, averaging 21.4 points and 9.4 rebounds between 2012 and 2016. Now, as a 35-year old, he is averaging 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on 46.4% shooting for a team that is just barely within playoff consideration.
After trading Kawhi Leonard for Demar DeRozan in 2018, the Spurs have been in decline. They made the playoffs in 2019, but lost to the Denver Nuggets, and failed to make the playoffs in 2020 for the first time in over two decades. The Spurs are trying to acquire new young talent to form a new big three or core, and an aging veteran Aldridge is not the way to do that.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked. At this point, we’d just like to do something that will work for him as much for our club, because he deserves that.”Greg Poppovich on LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge has been given permission by the Spurs to work on some opportunities elsewhere, whether it be basketball or something else. With an expiring $24 million contract, Aldridge was injured before All-Star weekend and sat out eight of the final 11 games before the All-Star break. Of those games, the Spurs won six. It’s doubtful that this alone is the reason they made up their mind on trading him, but it could have contributed.
More on the situation will be revealed once/if the Spurs announce a trade. Don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog so you don’t miss that blog post, and as always, have an awesome day!