LaMarcus Aldridge could be headed back to the Pacific Northwest sometime very soon.
The talented player reportedly wants to make his way back to the Portland Trail Blazers to finish his career where he started it. Aldridge has become a centerpiece of the post-Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs, but The Athletic reported that Aldridge has made it clear he would like to return to the Blazers and once again play alongside Damian Lillard.
As the report noted, Aldridge is still under contract with the Spurs through 2021, so it is not clear if he would seek a trade or wait until he hits free agency to return.
There could be more than nostalgia behind the decision. As the Fansided blog Sir Charles in Charge noted, the Spurs have fallen off as a perennial Western Conference title contender and now sit solidly at the fringes of playoff contention. The Trail Blazers still have the pieces to become a contender behind Lillard and C.J. McCollum, especially as the Golden State Warriors have some big decisions to make in terms of which free agents to keep and who to let walk.
“Aldridge is simply not a player that can carry a franchise anymore, and even less so in the new NBA where everything is more perimeter-oriented. The potential trio of Aldridge, Lillard and C.J. McCollum also sounds quite intriguing in Portland,” the report noted.
If LaMarcus Aldridge were to push for a trade this offseason, it could make for an intriguing situation in the Western Conference. The Lakers’ move to acquire LeBron James has not yet brought the desired results, and the Lakers are still far from playoff contention, so the conference once dominated by the Warriors could soon but more up for grabs. A Blazers team with Aldridge in the paint and McCollum and Lillard in the backcourt could become a title contender.
The Spurs aren't a threat in the West until LaMarcus Aldridge steps up – Stephen A. | First Take https://t.co/GLXtaCduja
— Gent News (@GentNewsCom) March 22, 2019
There are also conflicting reports about just how serious LaMarcus Aldridge may be about leaving San Antonio. Reporter Michael C. Wilson reported on Twitter that Aldridge’s quote about wanting to return to Portland was not meant to be an immediate desire, but instead something he might like to do before the end of his career. There have been no other reports suggesting that Aldridge is seeking an immediate exit from the Spurs. Although he and the team have endured rough patches before, all indications are that Aldridge is happy on his current team and preparing to lead them back into the playoffs.