ESPN first reported this morning that the San Antonio Spurs have talked to three teams about a possible trade for starting forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge can opt out of his contract this off-season, and the Spurs are reportedly looking to move the forward. The 2017 NBA Draft is tonight, and the team wants to do what they can to secure draft pick(s), so they’ve placed Aldridge on the trading block.
LaMarcus faced heavy criticism this post-season when the Spurs star forward, Kawhi Leonard, went down to injury during the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors in game one. In that game, the Warriors were down by more than 20 points when Leonard went out with an ankle injury. Aldridge, who is considered their second go-to-guy, failed to step his game up in the absence of Leonard as he was expected to do.
During the series, Spurs head coach Greg Popovich spoke to the media about Aldridge’s lackluster performance and what he expected from his other star player in Kawhi’s absence.
“LaMarcus has got to score for us. He can’t be timid” Popovich told reporters after the game. “He can’t be timid. He turned down shots in the first quarter. He can’t do it.”
In 2015, the Spurs signed Aldridge to a four-year deal that was worth $85 million. This past season, he put up his lowest scoring numbers since his rookie season when he played for the Portland TrailBlazers.
During the post-season, he averaged a career low of 16.5 points per game. Now, it appears the Spurs are looking forward to moving in a new direction to continue building solid pieces around their star player, Kawhi Leonard, to maintain their status as a championship contender.
The Spurs currently hold the No. 29 pick in the first round of Thursday’s NBA Draft. They also hold the No. 59 pick in the second round of the draft as well. Over the years, the franchise has been known to have success drafting players that are not familiar to the public, and it has worked in their favor. However, this time around, they seem to be more interested in receiving a top-ten pick to secure the team’s future.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]