LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the more high-profile players who will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent this summer, and reports continue to emerge that he may be one of the few max guys who would actually consider bolting his current situation on order to play somewhere else.
One said Aldridge was more likely to leave than people realize, while another quoted an anonymous teammate in estimating the chances of him returning to Portland are 50-50, at best.
If Aldridge does look around to see where the grass might be greener, he’d be hard-pressed to find a more appealing option than the one which may be available to him in San Antonio with the Spurs.
From Zach Lowe of Grantland:
The Spurs accepted that risk because waiting to bump up Leonard’s salary gives them the chance to dangle max cap space in front of Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge this summer. Neither is a good bet to leave his current team, but sources around the league have been saying for weeks that the Spurs might get a hearing with Aldridge — and that was before the Oregonian reported that at least one Blazers player thinks there is only a 50-50 chance that Aldridge stays in Portland.
(And no, I wouldn’t take that as gospel, either. Aldridge said before the season that he wants to be the greatest Blazer ever.)
Marc Gasol has similarly been linked to the Spurs, but his connection to Memphis seems strong enough to where his leaving in free agency seems like a long shot.
With Aldridge, though, the rumblings are probably there for a reason. We won’t know exactly how serious things are until Portland’s season has come to a close, but you’d have to believe a first-round playoff exit at the hands of Gasol’s Grizzlies would have him ready to, at the very least, strongly consider his options.