Via trade or buyout?
All indications are that his relocation will come via trade, as sources say interested GMs have been told that there are five teams firmly in the mix.
An Aldridge trade is definitely possible. But likely? I’m skeptical.
Aldridge is earning $24 million in the final year of his contract. At age 35, he has lost a step defensively, and his rebounding has slipped. It will be difficult for a team match his salary without sending out players more valuable than him.
By talking up trade interest, San Antonio might just be trying to gain leverage for a trade.
At least a few teams are still preparing for a buyout.
Should Aldridge receive a buyout, Miami, Portland and Boston are expected to be leading suitors.
The Celtics could also take Aldridge into their Gordon Hayward trade exception. But he’s probably not worth burning that tool and accepting the accompanying real-dollar cost.
Signing Aldridge for cheap after a buyout, though? That’d obviously appeal to many teams.
Of course, he won’t hit free agency this season if the Spurs trade him – which, for what it’s worth, they’re indicating will happen.