The chronicles of the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers seems to never end. Where both teams keep making moves and trades to one-up the other, the Nets just lost one of their key contributors. LaMarcus Aldridge, a seven time All-Star and five time selection to the All-NBA, is retiring after experiencing an irregular heartbeat during a Saturday game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“For 15 years I’ve put basketball first. And now, it’s time to put my health and family first.”LaMarcus Aldridge in a twitter statement
Unfortunately, this is nothing new. As reported by Chris Haynes on Twitter, His Rookie Year he was diagnosed with irregular heartbeat syndrome, so this has been something he’s dealt with his whole career. It’s sad it has to end like this.
Aldridge was the second overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, selected by the Chicago Bulls out of the University of Texas. He would be traded to Portland on draft night, and would make the All-Rookie team the next season. In his 6th season, he became an NBA All-Star, and averaged 20+ points per game for five straight seasons. However, after the 2014-15 season, Aldridge decided to test the free agency market, and while the Los Angeles Lakers thought that LA was coming to LA, Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs for four years and $80 million. He did so because he wanted to play on a winner, and the Lakers in 2015 were not winners.
Aldridge was so good that Bruce Bowen, the elite defender on the Spurs whose number 12 jersey number was retired, gave his team permission to un-retire it so Aldridge could wear it. Aldridge played five and a half seasons with the Spurs, being named an All-Star twice. Aldridge will remain one of the great players to never win a championship ring.
Former teammates Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum on the Portland Trail Blazers were surprised at the news. Damian Lillard was interviewed on Jalen & Jacoby, and he talked about how he thought basketball is now the least of Aldridge’s concerns. Dame also said on Instagram, “Health and family will always come before a game. Amazing career bro! Prayers up! CJ McCollum, responded with this on Twitter.
How will Aldridge’s retirement impact the Nets?
After the San Antonio Spurs bought out Aldridge’s contract, he signed with the Brooklyn Nets, and played five games for them before retiring. In those five games, he averaged 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.2 blocks on 52% shooting. During those five games, the Nets went 3-2, and they currently hold the second seed in the Eastern Conference. After I went on a rant a couple of weeks ago about how Aldridge joining the Nets was so unfair to the rest of the NBA, the Lakers signed Andre Drummond, and now Aldridge is retiring.
Boy, how the tables have turned.
So, are the Nets still on track to make the NBA Finals and win it all? Their recent six point loss to the 76ers may be of concern to some, but they were playing without Harden and KD, and only nine men. Even without Aldridge, the Nets still have an incredible starting five (when healthy) of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan. They have some bench depth in Jeff Green and Joe Harris, so while Aldridge’s retirement hurts, it is not the end ordeal.
With Aldridge’s retirement, I actually think that the Nets and the Lakers are equal with one another, when everyone is healthy. While the three Nets superstars form the best offense in the league, the Lakers have one of the best defenses. The Nets have past-their-prime stars Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and while they can still get up a bit, they aren’t what they used to be. The Lakers have 6th Men of the Year Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder, as well as some pieces of a young core in Talen Horton-Tucker, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, and Kyle Kuzma. Aldridge may not have seemed like much on paper, but without him, the matchup between the Nets and Lakers will be a lot more fierce.
Now that this matchup is more even between the super teams, who do you think is winning the NBA Finals? Let me know in the comments below, don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!