LaMarcus Aldridge, the San Antonio Spurs power forward, would be traded at some stage during this upcoming season, according to a seasoned NBA analyst.
Zach Lowe of ESPN.com has predicted that the five-time NBA champions could ship the five-time All-Star due to lack of chemistry on offense.
Aldridge, who signed a four-year, $80 million contract to join the Spurs last summer, saw a major dip in production since his days in Portland Trail Blazers during his first year back home in Texas.
Even though Aldridge’s 18.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game earned him an All-NBA Third Team honor, his performance during the playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder was heavily criticized by analysts and former players alike.
The Spurs took a 2-1 series lead against the Thunder before losing the next three games on their way out of the postseason.
Aldridge went into a funk in Games 3, 4 and 5 in which he shot a mediocre 8/21, 8/18 and 6/21 from the field.
LaMarcus Aldridge: Gone from Texas?
Lowe opines that the team’s new leader, Kawhi Leonard, would be better served by being paired up with a younger all-star instead of Aldridge, who turns 32 next July.
“The Spurs will see if this team outperforms expectations (in the 2016-17 season). 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.
“If opportunism meets desperation, the Spurs could fleece some rival and restock with a bundle of assets that better line up with Leonard’s timetable,” wrote the ESPN insider.
There’s no doubt that Aldridge is capable of dropping 20 and 10 on any given night. However, his ISO-centric style of play has often hampered San Antonio’s desire to sustain its motion offense.
In fact, coach Gregg Popovich had to make major adjustments to his playbook to accommodate Aldridge last season.
The Spurs weren’t shooting nearly as many threes and it cost them against high-voltage offenses like Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lowe also noted that the Spurs could consider the impending blockbuster trade since Aldridge has a player option for the 2018-19 season. Essentially, Aldridge could walk away after this coming season.
The analyst picked the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder as possible trade suitors.
Remember, the Lakers and Suns were part of Aldridge’s shortlisted teams before he finalized on the Spurs last summer.
Aldridge wasn’t willing to guarantee that a trade would happen, however.
“The odds are against any deal happening. Signing 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,” concluded Lowe.
LaMarcus Aldridge is set to face tougher defensive assignments this season since Tim Duncan is out of the door.