It is a matter of when, not if, the San Antonio Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge will part ways. If they are unable to find a team that will trade for the veteran big man, the Spurs will buy him out and he will be free to choose where he wants to continue his NBA career.
While Aldridge has struggled with some injuries this season, he could still help contenders down the stretch. He would provide a scoring punch in the frontcourt and has developed into a reliable 3-point shooter, pushing his range out the last few seasons.
Alridge may not be the go-to scorer that he was earlier in his career, but he would fit in seamlessly with a second unit looking for some veteran leadership and someone that could knock down a jump shot. Unsurprisingly, Aldridge is expected to have a robust market.
Trading for Aldridge, however, could be tricky. He is on an expiring $24 million contract and has a 15 percent trade kicker as well. Not many teams can absorb that kind of contract onto their salary.
According to the subscription-based, The Athletic, three teams have emerged as potential landing spots should the team not be able to trade him away and buy him out. His former team, the Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are expected to be the top suitors.
The former Texas product would be a solid addition for all three teams. Portland and Miami, especially, could use some help in the frontcourt. Portland is dealing with yet another injury to Jusuf Nurkic and Miami has very little in the way of depth behind starters Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk. Boston has plenty of center depth, but there have been NBA rumors that Tristan Thompson could be moved ahead of the NBA trade deadline, which would open up a spot for LMA.
In 21 games this season, the 35-year old LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 25.9 minutes per game. He is playoff-tested with 72 postseason games under his belt.
Whether LaMarcus Aldridge decides to sign with either Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, or a different NBA team, he still can provide no shortage of value as a stretch-big that can punish mismatches.