Earlier this month, the San Antonio Spurs announced that they would be mutually parting ways with veteran forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and he would sit out until they found a solution. After the trade deadline came and went without a deal, the two sides agreed to a buyout, which made Aldridge a free agent.
As expected, it didn’t take long for him to find a new team. On Saturday, Aldridge agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of the season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The Nets were able to beat out a number of teams for Aldridge’s signature, including the Miami Heat, who at one point were considered favorites to sign him.
Now in his 15th season, Aldridge is well past his prime, and his playing time and production had slipped rather significantly in the past few months. As the Spurs turn in a more youthful direction, a split simply made sense for both parties. San Antonio will now be able to firmly establish Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl as their frontcourt of the future, while Aldridge will get a chance to contend for a title — the main item missing from his resume.
Speaking of the title race, here’s how SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh sees the Aldridge move helping the Nets:
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Along with Blake Griffin, Aldridge is the second former All-Star forward that the Nets have signed on the buyout market this season. Frontcourt depth became a major issue for the Nets after the James Harden trade, and they’ve often had to make do with a rotating cast of two-way players and guys on 10-day contracts. Not so anymore.
Griffin and Aldridge will give them plenty of size and veteran experience down low, and all sorts of talent as well. Even late in their careers, those two should be able to slot in nicely as complementary players alongside the big three of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. It’s clear the two new guys can’t be the focal point of a contender anymore, but as the fourth and fifth option, that’s pretty good.
Aldridge, in particular, will give them a pick-and-pop big who can knock down 3s and space the floor for the perimeter stars. Even during something of a down year, Aldridge was still shooting 36 percent from deep, and should get plenty of wide-open looks.
All told, this is a nice pick-up for the Nets, and only bolsters their chances of winning it all. Not only did they add another good player, but they stole Aldridge away from potential rivals who were looking to sign him themselves.
Courtesy: CBS Sports