LaMarcus Aldridge announced his retirement today, just five games into a new chapter of his career, after signing with the Brooklyn Nets.
But as far as Trail Blazer fans are concerned, he will always be remembered as a promising piece of a team that really never was: The Brandon Roy-Greg Oden-LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Trail Blazers. It’s another one of those Blazer dream teams that teased us, but really never had a chance to materialize because of injuries.
Roy and Aldridge were drafted in 2006 and Oden in 2007. It appeared they would be the cornerstone of a team that would be championship contenders for years to come.
But as we now know, Oden’s career never got off the ground because of consistent knee injuries. Roy’s was cut short because of the same affliction.
Aldridge was the last left standing after that heralded trio played just 62 games together. The record in those games? It was 50-12.
Aldridge later was paired with Damian Lillard, of course, and became one of the top players in franchise history, climbing several career statistical ladders.
He is the team’s all-time leader in total rebounds and is third in scoring. In his nine seasons as a Trail Blazer, he averaged 19.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds.
He left the team in 2015 as a free agent, signing a multi-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs.
“LaMarcus had a storied NBA career and his time as a Trail Blazer will always be remembered fondly,” said Neil Olshey, Portland’s president of basketball operations. “Any success we experienced during his tenure in Portland would not have been possible without his work ethic, dedication and talent.”
Aldridge retired due to issues relating to an irregular heartbeat, which first surfaced in April of 2007, his rookie season in Portland.
He was diagnosed at that time with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. The condition is an electrical abnormality of the heart that is known to cause dizziness and rapid heartbeat. Aldridge underwent an ablation procedure to correct the condition and missed the final nine games of the Trail Blazers' season.
He remains one of the most popular players in the team’s recent history and there was a lot of fan support for attempting to bring him back to Portland after his contract was bought out recently by the Spurs.
Instead, he accepted an offer from the Nets and a hopeful chance to finally be on a championship team.