Much of the offseason for the Portland Trail Blazers has been about quelling the rumors having to do with LaMarcus Aldridge looking to leave. Trade talk has been mentioned more than once, but eventually, nothing actually came to be, but the chances of Aldridge remaining the star of the Blazers for much longer if this season ends like the last one.
The Blazers finished with a 33-49 record last season, losing the last 13 games. And yet the arrivals of Mo Williams, Robin Lopez and the drafting of C.J. McCollum has a lot of people predicting a strong season for the Blazers in the loaded Western conference, and possibly a playoff spot.
The Chicago Bulls were probably the name most mentioned with Aldridge early on. The rumors spoke of the Bulls offering Luol Deng for Aldridge, but the Blazers wanted Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler for their star power forward, maybe the best player in the league at his position.
There’s also been talk about the Oklahoma City Thunder with Serge Ibaka switching places with Aldridge, but unlike the Bulls issue, which did amount to some sort of talk between the teams on some level, the Ibaka talk has been mostly media speculation, nothing more.
There’s also been some sort of link with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves, but nothing too serious. Aldridge himself has talked about never wanting to leave the Blazers, and being quite happy with his career on the team since joining them in 2006, as the Bulls picked him in the draft but traded him for Tyrus Thomas.
His agent and reps, on the other hand, seem to be those pushing for an exit. Playing on a bigger team, in a bigger market. So far, Aldridge has yet to make it past a first round in the postseason, missing it altogether over the last two since Brandon Roy left the NBA an the team due to his impossible knee situation.
The Blazers are talented. Batum, Lillard, Aldridge, McCollum, Mo Williams. Playoff material, more talent and a lot more depth on a team that’s core is still quite young with plenty of potential. But Aldridge probably feels he’s being wasted if the losses continue to pile up, and the playoff remains an unreachable goal. If the Blazers don’t look close to reaching it this season, they might be forced to deal with the trading of Aldridge before the expiration of his current deal in 2015.