After five seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, there could be a chance of veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge returning to the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2020 offseason and helping boost an offense currently led by the backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, a recent report suggested.
As explained by Bleacher Report‘s Andy Bailey on Thursday in a list of top landing spots for this offseason’s leading trade targets, signing Aldridge to a multiyear extension was arguably the biggest mistake the Spurs had made in the lead-up to the 2019-20 campaign, a season they missed the playoffs for the first time in 22 years. Although the 35-year-old has produced good numbers on paper since moving to San Antonio, the team had a noticeably lower net rating when he was on the court in the season before he signed the extension, according to his player page on Cleaning the Glass.
In the lead-up to this year’s trade deadline, the Spurs reportedly were shopping Aldridge to other teams but were unable to move him because the organization purportedly wanted too much in return for the former No. 2 overall draft pick. But now that he appears to have sorted out his issues with Lillard, rumors are again swirling regarding the possibility of a Portland homecoming for Aldridge. Bailey stressed that this could be a “tricky” deal to pull off, due to the lack of plausible salary-matching assets apart from Trevor Ariza, who will be earning $12.8 million this season.
“Combining that with Zach Collins’ contract gets the two sides close in terms of CBA satisfaction, but the Blazers would probably be hesitant to trade an intriguing younger player for a big near the end of his career,” he added. “Consider this prediction a desire for both chaos and nostalgia.”
Despite the potential challenges involved in acquiring Aldridge, Bailey pointed out that successfully landing him would represent an “all-in-on-offense” move for the Trail Blazers. While he was described as a defensive liability of sorts for the Spurs since he joined the team for the 2015-16 season, the Bleacher Report writer emphasized that he’s still capable of contributing on the offensive end, especially now that he’s become a much better three-point shooter.
“Whether [starting] at [power forward] or backing up Jusuf Nurkic at [center], that’s the kind of shooting that would pull bigger defenders away from the paint and open up driving lanes for Lillard and CJ McCollum.”
Aside from Portland, a number of other teams have recently been mentioned as possible destinations for Aldridge in the event San Antonio trades him. Earlier this month, it was suggested that the Brooklyn Nets could acquire the erstwhile Spurs star — as well as reserve guard Derrick White — for a package featuring Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, and the 19th pick in this year’s NBA Draft.