LaMarcus Aldridge has already featured in several NBA trade rumors linking him with a move away from the San Antonio Spurs. But on Wednesday, head coach Gregg Popovich announced that the franchise will actively be looking to find a destination for Aldridge so that he can continue his career elsewhere.
LaMarcus Aldridge is on an expiring contract worth $24 million. Even though he's averaging only 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this season, he can still help out a team in their bid for a high playoff seed.
NBA Trade Rumors: Listing teams that will benefit from acquiring LaMarcus Aldridge
At 6'11, Aldridge has the size to play at both power forward and center. Primarily a post player, he has also added the three-point shot to his range in the last year and a half. On that note, let us look at five teams that can make good use of the skills that LaMarcus Aldridge brings to the table.
#1 Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have been crying out for help at the center spot ever since Al Horford left them in 2019. Daniel Theis has been a serviceable starter but he has his limitations. The Celtics brought in Tristan Thompson this offseason but even he hasn't impacted winning much.
LaMarcus Aldridge can take up the power forward slot in the lineup and sort Boston's dilemma. He can create space for the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown by stretching the floor. He's also a handy rebounder who averages 8.3 boards per game for his career and can help Theis out in that department. When Marcus Smart returns, Aldridge can slot in at center with Brown and Tatum moving up by one spot each to round out the Celtics' closeout roster.
A trade for LaMarcus Aldridge would be rather straightforward because the Boston Celtics can absorb his salary via their trade exception. Thompson and one of the young players such as Aaron Nesmith or Grant Williams could be sent back to San Antonio for Aldridge.
#2 New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are fairly shorthanded at the center spot with Nerlens Noel being their only recognized option at the five in Mitchell Robinson's absence due to injury. The Knicks not only need to add depth in this area but they also need more scoring options.
Acquiring LaMarcus Aldridge would fill both the aforementioned needs. He isn't as great a shot-blocker as Noel or Robinson but Aldridge can hold his own underneath the rim. His rebounding ability is comparable to the duo's as well, but it's his offensive ability where he's a clear upgrade over the Knicks' current options.
LaMarcus Aldridge is an aggressive player in the post and can spot up for threes as well. His playing style is largely similar to that of Julius Randle on the offensive end. Having a twin-tower combo that can both attack the rim and shoot from range will make it difficult for the opposition to make the correct decision regarding defensive schemes.
The New York Knicks have the cap space to make a deal work. They can offer Frank Ntilikina and Detroit's second-round pick to the Spurs as the main assets in a LaMarcus Aldridge trade.
#3 Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge played a major chunk of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and there's been talk of him heading back in recent years. The Blazers could use his help now more than ever.
Portland is going to have a largely full-strength team with both CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic returning to the lineup. Adding LaMarcus Aldridge would result in a roster that could easily go deep in the playoffs. He'll slot in at the four besides Nurkic with Robert Covington moving up to small forward.
Damian Lillard would be surrounded with three other stretch options in this case and that could result in some lethal offensive potential down the stretch. Yes, you do run the risk of giving up extra points by adding two slower bigs in the lineup. But given how good of a post player Nurkic is, he can protect the rim in drop coverage even if Aldridge gets switched on to a quicker player near the perimeter.
Getting a trade done for LaMarcus Aldridge could be difficult for the Blazers though. They have Rodney Hood's $10 million salary that can be used as a dump but besides him, there aren't any expendable options. Zach Collins' $5.4 million salary won't cut it and it would be difficult to part ways with Derrick Jones Jr. given how good he's been defensively.
#4 Miami Heat
LaMarcus Aldridge is potentially the best fit available on the market for the Miami Heat. He's a proven scorer and rebounder who can play interchangeably at the four or the five alongside Bam Adebayo.
Aldridge's ability to shoot from downtown gives ample spacing to the Heat's lineup considering that both Jimmy Butler and Adebayo lack that range. It'll also allow Kelly Olynyk to return to his favored role of an impact player off the bench.
Most importantly, LaMarcus Aldridge is an experienced campaigner on an expiring deal. He'll help Miami push deep into the playoffs while giving them the flexibility to reboot next season.
A trade for him will probably require the Heat to package Andre Iguodala and Moe Harkless with a draft pick or a young player.
#5 Dallas Mavericks
Kristaps Porzingis scored 28 points against the Spurs on Wednesday night and showcased just how good the Dallas Mavericks can be if he plays with more aggression underneath the rim.
Unfortunately for Rick Carlisle, the Latvian's aggression is as streaky as his defense this season. The Mavs' preferred power forward Maxi Kleber is also known more for his ability to stretch the floor than interior offense. This is where LaMarcus Aldridge can play a big role.
Adding Aldridge to the mix would give Dallas' offense that much versatility. He can keep the defenders busy inside the post while the other bigs can line up beyond the arc. Moreover, LaMarcus Aldridge can play decently as a post defender and rebounder.
A trade for the 35-year-old could be expensive given that the Spurs and Mavs are divisional rivals. But acquiring LaMarcus Aldridge would pair Doncic with an additional star and take some pressure off him. It will also allow Dallas some financial flexibility for next season considering the expiring nature of Aldridge's contract.