LaMarcus Aldridge has a new NBA home, and it’s not in Rip City.
After the San Antonio Spurs bought out LaMarcus Aldridge on Thursday after failing to trade him at the NBA Trade Deadline, the seven-time NBA All-Star became a free agent, thus opening the door for him to sign with a team of his choosing.
A number of teams reached out to acquire the 35-year-old forward’s services, including the Miami Heat, who were considered to be frontrunners to sign him, per Shams Charania. Portland was also said to the mix initially but reportedly did not receive a meeting.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Aldridge will sign with the Brooklyn Nets on a one-year, veteran minimum deal, shutting down hopes of a reunion with Damian Lillard in Portland.
The news is crushing for Trail Blazers fans who were hoping Aldridge would don a Portland uniform again after Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said San Antonio and Aldridge decided to mutually part ways earlier in March. The team initially thought it would find a trade partner for the 15-year veteran, but the Spurs were unable to find a suitor resulting in a buyout.
Now Aldridge is joining a super team.
This season, Aldridge averaged 13.7 points, the lowest mark since his rookie season and a career low 4.5 rebounds.
Aldridge has teased out the idea of finishing his career in Portland, even telling the Athletic in 2019 that he and Lillard discussed the possibility.
“I keep telling [Lillard] I’m going to come back and finish [in Portland],” Aldridge told The Athletic in 2019. “That’s something him and I have talked about—playing together again.”
With Aldridge signing with Brooklyn, this quickly dispels any narrative that he will return to Portland. Unfortunately, Trail Blazers fans will always wonder what could have been if he did? What could have happened if he never left? That story will be left unwritten for now.