While the San Antonio Spurs remain focused on a trade, rather than buyout for seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, a recent report suggests there are a few teams preparing for a buyout.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Portland Trail Blazers are in the mix for Aldridge should he receive a buyout.
“The Spurs are continuing to explore trades for Aldridge, sources said. Should Aldridge receive a buyout, Miami, Portland and Boston are expected to be leading suitors. Aldridge, a seven-time All-Star, is on an expiring $24 million contract," Charania reported.
The report should come as no surprise as a potential reunion with the Trail Blazers has been rumored over the years. Aldridge, who left Portland in 2015 to join the San Antonio Spurs, teased a potential reunion with Rip City when speaking with Damian Lillard.
"I keep telling him I'm going to come back and finish [in Portland]," Aldridge told The Athletic. "That's something him and I have talked about—playing together again."
Aldridge isn’t the same player he was since departing for San Antonio six years ago. He is averaging just 13.7 points per game, the fewest he’s scored since his rookie season, while adding 4.5 rebounds per game for the Spurs.
Given the Trail Blazers recent frontcourt injuries, and the fact that he and Lillard never finished business in bringing a championship back to Portland, could it be time for Aldridge to return with a chance to finish what he started?
A major obstacle is his $24 million salary, but if Aldridge does reach the buyout market, expect the Blazers to be in the mix.
In that same report, Charania reported the Trail Blazers also have interest in 25-year-old power forward, Aaron Gordon. Gordon is averaging 13.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for Orlando.
Both Gordon and Aldridge are likely to be traded by the NBA trade deadline, but whether Portland is their next NBA destination remains unknown.