Report: Cole Aldrich opting out of Clippers contract

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The Clippers might have had the NBA’s best 1-2 punch at center with DeAndre Jordan and Cole Aldrich.

Now, one of those two is headed back to free agency – though this edition should produce far less drama.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

The Clippers have Aldrich’s Non-Bird rights, which allow them to exceed the cap to sign Aldrich to up to 120% of the minimum salary. That won’t get it done. The Clippers – who are expected to stay over the cap – could also offer the mid-level exception. But even if they remain below the apron and offer the $5,628,000 non-taxpayer mid-level exception, I’d be shocked if that’s be enough.

Aldrich proved himself one of the NBA’s better backup centers last season. He’s mobile enough and does what limited big men do – rebound, protect the paint and foul too much. His scoring near the basket really improved playing in a better offense, too.

The 27-year-old Aldrich probably priced himself off the Clippers. It was a good fit while it lasted.

His option would’ve been worth $1,227,286. With the salary cap skyrocketing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get eight digits.

It’s time for Aldrich to get paid.