All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge might be on the move, as ESPN has reported that Aldridge wants to leave the San Antonio Spurs and the Spurs are accomodating his request. They are looking for a top-10 pick in this draft as his price, which may be hard to meet, but this has led to a flurry of rumors:
Phoenix might be the only team holding a top-10 pick that could acquire Aldridge with confidence that it isn't just a one-year engagement.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 22, 2017
An Aldridge return to Portland might make sense, as the Trail Blazers know how to handle the somewhat mercurial power forward and he is familiar with the team and the town. Making the money work with their cap situation and assets is a less-certain thing. The Phoenix Suns nearly signed him in the offseason that he joined San Antonio, and have the cap room to re-sign him when he almost assuredly declines his player option and becomes a free agent after the coming season.
The Denver Nuggets could also be an option here - they do not have a top-10 pick, but top-13 and some of Denver’s player assets could be very workable. Aldridge is a five-time All Star who averages 19 points and more than 8 rebounds a game for his career, but he’ll be 32 to start the season and has had some problems when asked to be the second-fiddle on a team. When he left Portland there were rumors that he didn’t like the city all that much or appreciate the attention Lillard received. Returning to his home state of Texas seemed like a good fit but he’s never quite been able to mesh his game with the brand of basketball that the Spurs play.
Whether he would like the city of Denver - or the attention soon to be paid to Nikola Jokic - any better is up for debate, but paying a 32 year old a ton of money this year and over his next contract through his decline phase is a big question mark, even though the Nuggets have the cap space to do so and are looking for an All-Star caliber player to pair with Jokic.
Whatever happens, Aldridge has the potential to shake up the first round tonight, so stay tuned.