Could LaMarcus Aldridge head back to the Portland Trail Blazers? The San Antonio Spurs star spent the first nine years of his career playing in Portland before eventually heading to Texas. Eventually, it has been rumored, Aldridge might want to play with Damian Lillard once more.
Aldridge said as much earlier this season. He told Jason Quick of The Athletic that he would like to finish his career in Rip City playing alongside Lillard. Now we have additional confirmation that Aldridge could try to find his way back to the Willamette Valley.
Speaking with media during the announcement of his signing, newest Blazers center Pau Gasol said that Aldridge told him he’d like to play in Portland. Gasol and Aldridge were teammates on the Spurs from 2016-2019.
How and when could this happen? Aldridge will be an unrestricted free agent at the age of 36 in the summer of 2021. The former No. 2 overall pick has earned an estimated $195 million from salary and bonuses alone in the NBA, so he certainly shouldn’t need the cash once he’s reached the Winter Buyout/Veteran Minimum On a Contender stage of his career.
Neil Olshey and the rest of the Blazers front office would certainly want Aldridge back. Although LMA could be a bit moody, he didn’t leave Oregon leaving a gushing wound the way some superstars have done as of late.
The more important question is whether Portland fans accept him back. The answer is this: yes.
Blazers fans posture as though Aldridge hurt them deeply, but for a man who was so consciously aloof and distanced from Portland as he was, it was likewise difficult to take his decision to depart for San Antonio in 2015 too personally.
Who knows what this Portland roster will look like by then? If the Blazers are still contending — or if they’re in the dumps and need a PR boost — maybe Aldridge could be the right choice.