The San Antonio Spurs may be currently focused on earning the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but when the 2019-20 NBA season is over, they would be needing to make a tough decision regarding their future in the league. If they finally decide to focus on the development of their young players and undergo a full-scale rebuild, there is a strong possibility that LaMarcus Aldridge would become available on the trading block this fall. Several title contenders who are in dire need of a frontcourt boost and additional star power are expected to express interest in acquiring Aldridge from the Spurs.
One of the most intriguing landing spots for Aldridge in the 2020 offseason is the Portland Trail Blazers, the team that selected him as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. According to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, the Trail Blazers may consider bringing the All-Star power forward back to Portland this fall and make him the “third option” behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum next year. In the proposed trade scenario, the Trail Blazers would be sending a trade package that includes Trevor Ariza and Rodney Hood to San Antonio in exchange for Aldridge.
“For San Antonio, this move would mostly be about steering further into a rebuild. Removing Aldridge from the rotation would open up more minutes for Jakob Poeltl. Ariza’s deal is only guaranteed for $1.8 million in 2020-21, so there’s an opportunity for more flexibility there. And though Hood is no spring chicken at 27, he’s still eight years younger than Aldridge. He could bring a little shooting as a combo forward in lineups with two of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV.”
Despite his controversial departure in the summer of 2015, Aldridge still hasn’t closed his doors to the possibility of returning to Portland. Last year, in an interview with Jason Quick of The Athletic, he revealed that he had a conversation with Lillard about his plan to play for the Trail Blazers again and finish his career in Portland.
If they want to become a more competitive team in the Western Conference next season, trading for Aldridge makes a lot of sense for the Trail Blazers. Though he’s no longer in his prime, he remains a force to be reckoned with under the basket and would give the Trail Blazers a very reliable scoring option, rebounder, and rim protector.
This season, the 35-year-old center/power forward is averaging 18.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. With his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc, he wouldn’t have a hard time making himself fit alongside Jusuf Nurkic in their frontcourt. Losing Ariza and Hood would undeniably hurt the team’s wing depth, but it would also give young players like Nassir Little, Gary Trent Jr., and Anfernee Simons the opportunity to prove that they deserve more minutes on the court.