In a recent interview with The Athletic, former Blazers All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge went into detail about post-retirement life and his time with the Blazers.
Aldridge retired after a 15-year NBA career, which included him playing with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome since he was with the Trail Blazers.
Aldridge was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2006 Draft by the Chicago Bulls. His rights were then traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for their pick, Tyrus Thomas, and Viktor Khryapa.
He remains Portland's all-time leading rebounder (5,434) and has scored the third-most points (12,562) in franchise history. He averaged 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game.
The Nets added Aldridge on March 28 as a free agent after the Spurs bought him out of his deal. He played just 5 games with the Nets.
He decided to retire after an April 10 game against the Lakers which saw his heartbeat become irregular.
Since then, he’s been adjusting to retirement.
“I’ve been depressed, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate through not competing on the floor, learning not to be depressed,” said Aldridge, via Shams Charania. “I still love basketball. I still feel like I have a lot to give. But even now, I’m still trying to find myself. When you go from doing something you love for so long and you lose it overnight, it’s a shock. Even though I knew it was the right decision, those next couple days there was a lot of back and forth with my family, my agent, with the Nets, and they definitely supported me either way.”
Aldridge described that following the game as being “scary,” because he was experiencing his heart in a fashion he never had before.
“I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” said Aldridge. “And later that night, I honestly had a scary night. My heart was beating different or as weird as it has ever been before. I never experienced how slow, fast … it was just crazy how it was going that night. I wanted to wait until the morning to get to the doctors to see what was going on.”
When Aldridge decided to retire, Kevin Durant was one of the first people he contacted, as a courtesy for Durant being one of the first individuals to contact him once he hit the free-agent market.
“It was tough, man,” Aldridge said. “I talked to Kevin (Durant) right away, I wanted to give him the respect because when I hit the waiver market when I got my buyout, he was the first guy to hit me. So I felt like I wanted to hit him first, because he was owed that. And I think he was more in shock in the beginning because he didn’t really believe or understand what I was saying. And then we talked again.”
Aldridge's career with the Nets is a big "what could have been," as is his time with the Blazers.
"If we remained teammates -- with my development, CJ [McCollum’s] development, who knows what that could’ve turned into,” Damian Lillard said after Aldridge's retirement.
Lillard added that the Blazers should retire Aldridge's number in Portland, which LA followed up saying "it would be an honor."
For more on Shams' story on Aldridge, click here.