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LaMarcus Aldridge returning to NBA, agrees to one-year deal with Nets

Nets big LaMarcus Aldridge

BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 7: LaMarcus Aldridge #21 of the Brooklyn Nets warms up prior to a game against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 7, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Five months ago, an irregular heartbeat forced LaMarcus Aldridge to step away from the Nets and the NBA in what everyone thought was a retirement. There was an outpouring of love from players, and Damian Lillard wanted the Trail Blazers to retire Aldridge’s number.

However, that was not the end — Aldridge has been medically cleared to play and now has agreed to a veteran minimum contract to return to the Nets. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news.

There had been some buzz about Aldridge looking at the Bulls, but if Aldridge is coming back to chase a ring, Brooklyn is the place to be. The Nets have 15 guaranteed contracts and will need to waive someone to fit Aldridge on the opening day roster.

Aldridge has had an impressive career, a five-time All-NBA and seven-time All-Star player, plus he is only of only 25 NBA players with more than 19,000 points and 8,000 rebounds in his career. He is almost unstoppable on the left block, with a variety of moves and counters, but can step out to three and space the floor. Time has robbed Aldridge, 36, of some athleticism and efficiency, but he can still play a role.

Aldrige offers more versatility up front for coach Steve Nash to experiment with (and use in certain matchups). Aldridge, just-signed Paul Millsap, and Blake Griffin can play the five in some smaller lineups (with Kevin Durant as the four), the four next to Nicolas Claxton in some larger lineups, or with each other in some other rotations.

The Nets are stacked and the championship favorites for a reason. The only big question is can they keep everyone healthy.