The San Antonio Spurs signed LaMarcus Aldridge to a four-year, $80 million deal before the 2015-16 season, but reports have surfaced indicating the five-time All-Star could be traded if he struggles during his second campaign with the team.
I didn’t buy into it. I haven’t heard anything about it. I talked to Pop (head coach Gregg Popovich) daily and he’s always telling me that I’m doing great. Trying to be a more of a leader. He’s put me in positions where I can be more of a leader. As long as the guys here aren’t saying bad things to me. All my teammates have said nothing but great things to me.
During an appearance on CSN New England, Jackie MacMullan said Aldridge could be dealt at some point this year: “For instance, sources were telling me the other day that LaMarcus Aldridge may not even finish the year with the Spurs. That experiment hasn’t quite worked out the way they hoped.”
The entire segment can be viewed below, with the Aldridge discussion beginning at the 50-second mark:
Aldridge Remains Topic of Trade Rumors
This isn’t the first time Aldridge’s name has surfaced in trade rumblings during the offseason.
On Oct. 12, ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe suggested the Spurs could dangle Aldridge if he underwhelms: “The Spurs will see if this team outperforms expectations. If it doesn’t, they should take calls on Aldridge. He’s really good, and there are a lot of impatient owners chasing immediate gratification.”
Lowe also noted, “Aldridge is 31, six years older than Kawhi Leonard, and his trade value will never be higher; he can opt out of his contract after the 2017-18 season.”
While it’s not clear why the Spurs would be unhappy with Aldridge’s performance after he averaged 18.0 points and 8.5 rebounds on a career-best 51.3 percent shooting last year, there are a few variables to consider.
The first is that the Spurs played Aldridge at center 46 percent of the time last year, which represented his highest total since the 2010-11 season.
If that split holds up now that Tim Duncan is out of the picture, the Spurs could be in trouble on defense.
As Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale noted (via NBAwowy.com), when Leonard played power forward and Aldridge slotted in at center, “the Spurs allowed what would have been an Association-worst 111.3 points per 100 possessions.”
It’s also worth noting the Spurs’ defensive rating ticked up from 95.4 to 98.8 when Aldridge was on the floor without Duncan.
Pairing Aldridge with Pau Gasol could help alleviate some concerns, but the Chicago Bulls posted a discouraging defensive rating of 103.5 with the Spaniard on the floor a year ago.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report