LaMarcus Aldridge’s time with the San Antonio Spurs has come to an end.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that Aldridge will not return to the team after the All-Star break. Said Pop, in a statement:
“LaMarcus is not with the team. He’s healthy, in that respect, but we’ve mutually agreed to work out some opportunities for him and that’ll be elsewhere. So, he won’t be with the team moving forward. He’s been a great teammate. There was no problem there. We just think this is a win-win for both LaMarcus and the club. So, when an opportunity arises, that’ll be up to management, his agent, you know, sort of thing. We’ll all move forward.”
Spurs Looking to Trade Aldridge
According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Spurs are currently engaged in trade talks with several teams. It’s unclear what San Antonio’s asking price for Aldridge is but given that his production has steadily decreased over the years but according to Woj, there’s a “level of confidence” that the Spurs can find a trade perhaps even next week.
Breaking: The Spurs are working on trade scenarios with LaMarcus Aldridge and have been engaged on several fronts, sources tell @wojespn. pic.twitter.com/lf3YmVhOw3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 11, 2021
There are reportedly no indications that the Spurs are moving towards a buyout although that could ultimately become an option if they cannot find a trade partner before the March 25th trade deadline. If it comes to that scenario, many of the league’s top teams are expected to bid for his services in the free agent market.
Aldridge officially remains on the roster for now but he has been given permission to “work on some opportunities elsewhere”. This isn’t the first time that Aldridge and the Spurs have been reported to part ways. After the 2016-17 season, Aldridge asked to be traded but eventually settled his differences with Popovich and signed an extension deal which expires at the end of this season.
Expectations Were Too High
After spending his first nine seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs in 2015 as a free agent. His addition was supposed to keep San Antonio one of the league’s elites after winning their last championship in 2014. Aldridge was also supposed to continue San Antonio’s tradition of big men as Tim Duncan was nearing retirement at that time.
Spurs make it official and sign both Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge to contracts. pic.twitter.com/PifKYNACiF
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) July 9, 2015
But the expectations were too high for Aldridge and he never lived up to them. Aldridge earned three All-Star nods and two All-NBA selections while playing for the Spurs but San Antonio never made it past the Western Conference Finals during his stint with the Spurs. He played in only 53 games last season and the Spurs missed the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons. This season, he missed eight out of the team’s last 11 games prior to the All-Star break. San Antonio went 6-2 without him and he came off the bench in the three games he played.
The Spurs are 18-14 at the break, good for 7th place in the Western Conference. However, the Spurs have the 2nd toughest remaining schedule in the league with their next 40 opponents having an average winning percentage of .520. ESPN’s power index says that they only have a 27.2% chance of making the playoffs.
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