Counter-report: Spurs more likely to buy out than trade LaMarcus Aldridge

Spurs big LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Celtics
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LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs are parting ways.

Via trade or buyout?

According to one report, a trade appears likely. According to another…

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:

Boston isn’t interested in an Aldridge deal (more on that below) and Miami is unlikely to put together the package of players needed to make one work. Barring something unforeseen, league sources see it as more likely that Aldridge is bought out after the deadline.

Mannix reiterated the Celtics are prioritizing Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who’d fit into Boston’s trade exception.

The Heat were a somewhat logical Aldridge trade partner with Kelly Olynyk‘s and Meyers Leonard‘s contracts (both in the final guaranteed season). But if even Miami is unlikely to deal for Aldridge, that leaves few obvious trade destinations.

Aldridge’s $24 million salary is just difficult to match without including a player more valuable than him. At 35, he has slipped, especially defensively.

Still, Aldridge’s inside-outside scoring could help many teams in a limited role. If bought out, he’d draw suitors. The Celtics, Heat and Trail Blazers are reportedly interested if Aldridge becomes a free agent.

Aldridge has talked openly about returning to Portland.