So, LaMarcus Aldridge to Portland? Let me tell you why I don’t think it’s going to happen.
First and probably most important, I’m not sure Aldridge is going to reach the buyout stage. I understand the San Antonio Spurs are trying very hard to trade him prior to the March 25 deadline, rather than have to buy him out.
And with a player who once was as productive as Aldridge, there is probably going to be a team – perhaps one in contention for a championship looking for one more piece of insurance – that will be so hungry for another big man that it will overlook how much the 35-year-old power forward/center has slipped,
Aldridge’s production this season is dismal in comparison to his career averages, let alone the averages for his best seasons.
He is averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game (his lowest since his rookie season in Portland) at the end of a career that has seen him average 19.4 and 8.1. He is shooting 46.4 percent from the field this season after 49.1 percent during his career. His defense has not been great, either.
But I think if the Spurs are willing to accept expiring contracts and second-round picks, a deal could be made. But not with the Trail Blazers. They are not in a position to make such a trade and would be wise not to throw young assets into a deal for an aging player whose skills are declining.
If he is not dealt, I do not think the fit in Portland would be great as a buyout addition.
At this point of his career, Aldridge is much more of a center than a power forward, which, by the way, has never been a position he enjoyed playing.
And in Portland, he would have to sit behind Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter. Maybe even Harry Giles. Getting him on the floor at power forward would mean fewer minutes for Derrick Jones, Robert Covington, Nassir Little and maybe even Gary Trent or Anfernee Simons – when big lineups are considered.
I don’t think that would be good for the franchise, long term.
And given Coach Terry Stotts’ penchant for using veteran players over youngsters, I would worry that Aldridge would end up getting more minutes than he earns, just because he is a trusted veteran player with a lot of big moments behind him.
And just one more thing bothers me about this situation: I do not believe Aldridge’s planned departure is part of a tank job by San Antonio. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to me that Gregg Popovich would want to do that at this point of his career.
By all accounts, the Spurs are still trying to make the playoffs.
And that they don’t consider Aldridge part of a team that could do that, would give me pause. You aren’t dealing with an historically dumb franchise here.
If the Spurs are willing to give him away, should the Trail Blazers value him?