Heat considered a front runner to acquire LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge is available, and the Miami Heat have emerged as a front runner to get him

LaMarcus Aldridge, Heat, Spurs
NBA Analysis Network

LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs “mutually agreed” to part ways this week. Trades are being pursued, and a buyout will probably come failing a deal. A case can be made for a solid chunk of teams to pursue the seven-time All-Star. According to Sam Amico of FortyEightMinutes.com, some around the league consider the Miami Heat a frontrunner to get Aldridge.

Due to a non-COVID-19 related illness, Aldridge did not play in the last couple games heading into the All-Star break for the Spurs. In 21 games this season (18 starts), he’s averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. At 35 years old, he is no longer the 20-25 point scorer he routinely was in his prime.

As Sam Quinn of CBS Sports reminds us, as is their mode in pursuing big names, the Heat pursued Aldridge in 2015 free agency. The current fit in Miami looks to be imperfect. Kelly Olynyk is filling the role similar to what Aldridge would, and he’s a higher volume 3-point shooter. But Aldridge has averaged at least three attempts per game from beyond the arc in each of the last two seasons, while making them at a solid rate (38.9 percent and 36 percent respectively).

Aldridge still shoots a lot in the mid-range, and remains proficient in that area of the floor. From 16 feet out to the 3-point line this season, he’s converting at 51.8 percent. That mid-range game might make the Heat a more dangerous offense when Aldridge is on the floor.

Getting right down to it, shaping a trade offer for Aldridge the Heat would like to make and would appeal to the Spurs isn’t easy. Olynyk and his expiring contract is a possible start, as is Goran Dragic and his $18 million salary. Beyond that, it’d be a combination of depth parts. Or, at least one of Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro. If the Heat are willing to part with Robinson or Herro, presumably one or the other, then the equation would change. San Antonio may even ask for one them in a deal for Aldridge.

Will the Heat exhaust all options to get Aldridge, including signing him after a buyout if it comes to that? Or will they be content to keep things basically as-is?