LaMarcus Aldridge's time with the San Antonio Spurs is over. Before Wednesday night's game, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich announced LaMarcus Aldridge was not with the team and the franchise had agreed to work on some trade scenarios. The 35-year-old isn't what he once was, but should garner trade interest from contenders looking for a late-season boost, especially if he's willing to come off the bench.
This season, Aldridge is averaging a career-lows in points (13.7) and rebounds (4.5) per game. He's shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 36.0 percent from 3-point range in 25.9 minutes per game. His PER of 15.02 is also a career low. Aldridge is in the final season of a two-year, $50 million contract. That makes him much easier to trade. Since he's not being bought out (yet), the issue will be finding a good financial fit from a team that also has assets the Spurs covet.
Here's a look at four potential trade destinations for Aldridge.
The Celtics have been rumored to have interest in bringing Al Horford back, but Aldridge could be just as good a fit. The team could use a boost in the front court, and Aldridge would be a big improvement over Tristan Thompson. Sending Thompson back to San Antonio in any potential deal would clear $9.26 million off the cap, but to even things out the Celtics would need to include a number of their 47* superfluous bench guys (*it may be fewer than that) and some draft compensation.
New York Knicks
The Knicks have been a revelation in Tom Thibodeau's first season but the one thing they don't have a lot of is veteran savvy. Derrick Rose was added for just that reason, and a guy with deep playoff experience like Aldridge could be another great addition. As an inside-out option, he could be excellent on the second unit, or could replace Nerlens Noel in the starting lineup at center with Mitchell Robinson out.
Sending Frank Ntilikina and Alec Burks plus draft assets to San Antonio would make the math work on this deal.
Portland Trail Blazers
How about a reunion in Portland? This one would be tough financially but bringing Aldridge back home could be a big-time win for the Blazers. They're currently fifth in the Western Conference playoff chase and could use all the help they can get. To make this deal work they might have to work in a third team, but the package could start with shipping out the struggling Rodney Hood and a bunch of draft capital. The rest of the money would need to be moved through another team because Portland doesn't have many contracts it can move. But damn, this would be a great story, returning Aldridge to the team he spent his first nine seasons with.
A year after reaching the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat have fallen apart. They need something and a veteran warrior like Aldridge could help the team turn things around. A deal for Aldridge would likely have to include Andre Iguodala's $15 million salary in return, then some combination of superfluous contracts, potentially Moe Harkless' deal and that of KZ Okpala. Obviously some draft compensation would need to be thrown in to satisfy San Antonio. The Heat occupy the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference right now at 18-18. An Aldridge trade could be a lifeline to help spark them.