With the Portland Trail Blazers making a set of moves before the NBA Draft and the beginning of free agency, it seems very unlikely that LaMarcus Aldridge will re-sign with the team, and he has his sights set on either the San Antonio Spurs or the Los Angeles Lakers as his next teams, although both the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks remain in contention.
The Blazers, as we suggested last month, was traded to the Charlotte Hornets. The Blazers got Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh in return. Is Vonleh going to replace Aldridge? Not right now. Rumors suggest the Hornets traded him and gave up on the 19-year old after just one season because he seemed to be struggling with understanding what’s required of him in the next level. Maybe that’s true, but maybe the Blazers simply need some player development to steer him in the right direction.
Regardless of the Vonleh trade, Aldridge seems to be on his way out. The Blazers would love to re-sign him and keep their star duo of Aldridge and Damian Lillard (who is up for an extension) pulling the wagon forward with some changes, but they’re probably going to have to go in a different direction. Aldridge, who was speaking about staying a year ago, has his sights on ending his career elsewhere.
But where? Well, the San Antonio Spurs were and remain the number one option, and the entire league should be very afraid if that indeed happens. The Dallas Mavericks were the number two option, but Aldridge seems to have put the Los Angeles Lakers above them on his preference list. The Boston Celtics, who are trying to get either Aldridge or Love, are also in play for the power forward.
How does this end? Aldridge is going to get the max contract either way. It’s only a matter of where. The Blazers offer more years and money due to it being a re-signing. Spurs and Mavericks make it about coming “home” to Texas, and also no state income tax (although there are other taxes that make up for it). The Lakers and Celtics? Old-time glory and prestige, with the potential of leading a rising team. The Celtics make the more attractive options in terms of basketball, but it’s always hard completely disregarding the Lakers as a valid option. But then you remember Kobe Bryant is still there, which makes it hard for big-time players to join.