Potential Destinations for LaMarcus Aldridge

Last week, the San Antonio Spurs followed a recent trend by shutting down LaMarcus Aldridge in order to trade him. How and why did this trend start? If your team is trying to trade a player - don't you want to showcase him to the rest of the league? Either way, Aldridge is owed a portion of $24M for the remainder of this season, which is a big reason it will be difficult to move the veteran big man. The other factor is that he's having the worst season of his career, averaging 13.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 apg with 46.4% FG shooting (2nd worst mark of his career). The only upside to his performance has been his outside shooting, as he is hitting 1.3 3's per game on 36.0% shooting - more than respectable for the PF/C. Given the non-trade market for Blake Griffin, the Spurs could be in tough. Let's take a look at some potential landing spots for Aldridge, either through trade or mid-season signing. 

Charlotte Hornets

At 20-18. the Hornets are in the thick of the playoff race, and could offer the Spurs a 1st round pick in next year's draft, along with the expiring contracts Bismack Biyombo and Cody Zeller. Aldridge would add some veteran grit to a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2015-16 and who's most valuable player is a rookie. The biggest area of improvement for the Hornets would be the outside shooting Aldridge provides, as neither Zeller nor Biyombo (especially) are prolific shooters from outside the paint. In the playoffs, when the pace slows and more half-court basketball takes place, Aldridge would give the Hornets a 3rd option behind their two leading scorers in Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier - as well as a different point of attack as the big man is proficient from his customary post position. 

Miami Heat

Apparently the Heat and Spurs have already been in talks, with Miami offering a package of veterans Avery Bradley, Mo Harkless, Meyers Leonard to match salaries as well as a draft pick. Aldridge would fit well with a Heat team that went to last year's finals and has extensive experience for a young team. Of course, if a trade can't be worked out, the Heat will be one of the teams most interested in signing Aldridge for the playoffs. 

Portland Trail Blazers

They say home is where the heart is, and for Aldridge that means potentially heading back to Oregon, where he started his career as the 2nd overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft. Aldridge leads all players from that draft in games played, minutes, points and rebounds and could be a key contributor for the Blazers once again. His familiarity with both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum would be important, as he played with both of high-scoring guards prior to heading to the Spurs. 

It will be interesting to see where the 7x All-Star/5x All-NBA big man ends up, and how it comes to pass. Will he be traded and allow the Spurs to regain some assets or will they have to buy him out like Detroit with Blake Griffin? Regardless of where he lands, there is no doubt he will make a positive impact in the playoffs for his new team. 

Photo Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports