Well this is an unexpected addition to the list of names in the NBA rumor mill: LaMarcus Aldridge.
The San Antonio Spurs forward signed the 31-year-old to a four-year, $84 million contract last offseason, but it seems the franchise isn’t happy with Aldridge’s fit in replacing now-retired big man Tim Duncan.
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently appeared on CSNNE to discuss expectations for the Boston Celtics, and during the segment she was asked if this is the season in which Celtics president Danny Ainge finally trades some of his shrinking treasure chest of draft picks.
MacMullan seemed optimistic, and then casually dropped this nugget,.
“I think there’s going to be some unusual movement. I think there might be some movement that surprises you,” she said. “For instance, sources were telling me the other day that LaMarcus Aldridge may not even finish the year with the Spurs. That experiment hasn’t quite worked out the way they’d hoped. I think there’s gonna be a lot of shifting around.
“There’s some things going on … yeah there’s just some stuff going on.”
Though it might seem weird that San Antonio would want to trade a player who averaged 18 points and 8.5 rebounds on a career-high 53.1 shooting percentage last season, MacMullan isn’t the only one on the scent of this rumor.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe actually brought up a potential Aldridge trade last week.
“The Spurs will see if this team outperforms expectations,” Lowe wrote. “If it doesn’t, they should take calls on Aldridge. He’s really good, and there are a lot of impatient owners chasing immediate gratification. … The odds are against any deal happening. Signing (forward Pau) Gasol to a two-year deal (with a player option for 2017-18) is something of an all-in move, and even if Gasol opts out after this season, the Aldridge-Leonard combo is a shiny lure for free agents. But if the season unfolds the wrong way, here’s betting the Spurs at least listen.”
As Bleacher Report’s Alec Nathan points out, though, the Spurs actually were much worse defensively with Aldridge on the floor last season. At 31, he’s six years older than franchise cornerstone Kawhi Leonard, and Aldridge can opt out of his contract following the 2017-18 season — meaning his trade value might never be higher.
The Spurs, of course, are denying the Aldridge rumors, per the San Antonio Express-News. But no team openly says they’re trying to trade a player until things get ugly.
It remains to be seen what — or if — anything will happen. But you can be sure there will be plenty of suitors if it does.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images