NBA Rumors: Miami Heat Reportedly Among Teams That Have Inquired About LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs runs down the court.
Gettyimages | Ronald Martinez
Basketball

On Wednesday night, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich announced that veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge will no longer be suiting up for the team. With the 35-year-old now inactive, the Spurs are reportedly looking for a suitable partner to acquire him before the March 25 trade deadline or, in the event none can be found, a way to buy out his contract. As a new report suggests, one of those teams is the Miami Heat, who might be shaking up their roster in an effort to return to the NBA Finals this year.

Heat Are Among Aldridge's Top Suitors

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has a talk with LaMarcus Aldridge during a timeout.
Gettyimages | Ronald Martinez

As cited on Thursday by Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, a league source recently revealed that the Heat are one of the teams that have had talks with the Spurs about possibly trading for Aldridge. 

The writers added that the rumors regarding Miami’s interest in Aldridge are notable because team president Pat Riley wanted to sign the big man in 2015 when he was a free agent. The Heat, however, weren’t able to complete the move as they didn’t have enough salary-cap space to do so.

Aldridge's Numbers Have Been Down This Season

San Antonio Spurs center/forward LaMarcus Aldridge shoots over Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.
Gettyimages | Cameron Pollack

As pointed out by the Miami Herald, Aldridge’s stats have declined sharply this season as he is now averaging just 13.7 points, a career-low 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.9 blocks per game. The Spurs have also been outscored by 58 points this season when Aldridge is on the court while scoring 48 more points than their opponents when he’s riding the bench. The 15-year veteran’s declining defensive ability was mentioned as another reason why San Antonio performs worse on paper when he is playing.

Aldridge Still Could Help The Heat If They Acquire Him

LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs posts up against then-Miami Heat forward James Johnson.
Gettyimages | Mike Ehrmann

Despite the perception that Aldridge is past his prime, his experience might come in handy if a contending team like the Heat acquires him via trade or buys out his contract, Bleacher Report wrote. Specifically, the publication suggested that the seven-time All-Star could contribute off the bench and provide some scoring and rebounding from the power forward and/or center positions.

Since entering the NBA as the No. 2 pick of the 2006 draft, Aldridge has posted career averages of 19.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

The Heat Have Several Options To Acquire Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs and Kelly Olynyk of the Miami Heat fight for a rebound.
Gettyimages | Mike Ehrmann

According to Chiang and Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Heat may have to deal with multiple “challenges” if they decide to acquire Aldridge. They do, however, have several possible options. These include offering a package that includes young players such as Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, and/or Precious Achiuwa and veterans like Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala, both of whom can help match salaries with the Spurs. 

The two writers also suggested that the “simpler path” might be for the Heat to negotiate a buyout with the Spurs. Miami currently doesn’t have any free cap space, though they have a $3.6 million biannual exception and a $4.7 million disabled player exception they can use to sign Aldridge as a free agent.