The LaMarcus Aldridge sweepstakes is still going strong on the second day of Free Agency; but some reports are saying that the San Antonio Spurs are the most likely to land the free agent big man. But, the Spurs are not there yet, with the likes of the Lakers, the Heat, the Suns, and even the Trail Blazers still in contention for his services next season. The question here is, where will he fit in the best? Will he fit better on a team coached by a future Hall-of-Famer in Gregg Popovich? Or would he rather don Laker gold and purple and play for a team with a history of winning? Here are my Top 5 landing spots for LaMarcus Aldridge this offseason.
- SAN ANTONIO SPURS: Next to the Lakers, the Spurs are one of the most accomplished candidates on Aldridge’s list of potential teams. They currently have three future Hall-of-Famers on their roster; (Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan), and has a great supporting cast that all together has shown to be a championship caliber team. With the addition of Aldridge to the roster, the Spurs will be bringing in an All-Star caliber 20-10 big man with a great mid-range shot and a pretty damn good post game. This will give Duncan a chance to not have to play a crap ton of minutes, as well as help put two veteran big men on the floor at the same time. But, with Tim Duncan coming into his 19th season in the NBA, the Spurs are going to need to bring another center on to the roster. Reason being is, according to Sean Highkin of NBCSports Pro Basketball Talk, that Aldridge does not want to play center; which the Knicks wanted him to play. So if the Spurs want to land him, they will need to sign another center to the squad, move someone like Duncan over to center, or even both.
- MIAMI HEAT: The Miami Heat have become a late entry into the Aldridge sweepstakes; looking for another “big man” to add to their roster. The addition of Aldridge would really help the Heat put different pairings for the 4-5 positions out there throughout the season; such as Aldridge and Bosh for range, Whiteside and Aldridge for defense and rebounding, Whiteside and Bosh for a mixture of both, etc… With Wade and Dragic staying, along with the addition of Justise Winslow from the draft, this roster with the addition of Aldridge can really make some noise in a very weak Eastern Conference. The problem I have with this though is the rise of Hassan Whiteside and what that means for the center position once again. With Aldridge not wanting to play center, a move like this will force Bosh over to center again whenever the two of them are on the floor; which is not a very good position for the big guy. With Bosh’s size, he does not make a very dominant paint presence, and Coach Spoelstra will need to watch this very closely when it comes to in-game shifts and changes.
- PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: Out of the final three teams left on this list, I am selecting Aldridge returning to the Blazers as Number Three. To start, with the exception of Damian Lillard, who signed a five-year max extension with the team, the Blazers have lost three of their starters from last year to trades and free agency. Honestly, this roster doesn’t really seem very appealing for an All-Star to return to, doesn’t it? But, comparing it to the Lakers and the Suns rosters, I would trust the Blazers the most. As of right now, I see Lillard and Afflalo as a better pair of starters to team Aldridge up with then Russell and Bryant from LA, and Bledsoe from Phoenix. For the Blazers to have a chance a re-signing Aldridge, they will need to sign some more BIG names out of free-agency.
- PHOENIX SUNS: The Suns have recently added Tyson Chandler to their roster this offseason, and a 4-5 pairing of Aldridge and Chandler would be pretty interesting to see. Chandler; a very good defensive center, will be paired with a scoring 20-10 power forward in Aldridge. With this, both of their play styles will really compliment each other when they are on the floor at the same time. To add to that, the Suns also have a high-scoring PG in Eric Bledsoe; unless they have to trade him to make cap room. The addition of Aldridge will indeed improve their roster, as well as make them a playoff team, but it will not make them title contenders on the spot. They will need to make some more rooms before the city of Phoenix can really look at being title contenders.
- LOS ANGELES LAKERS: With the addition of D’Angelo Russell, the LA Lakers are definitely on the road to rebuilding what hopefully will be a Lakers team of old. But, LA is in no position to win anytime soon with the roster they have. Even with the addition of Aldridge, they still have a rookie point guard that still needs to grow and mature, an aging Kobe who hasn’t played anywhere close to a full season in the previous two years, as well as a roster consisting of the likes of Carlos Boozer and “Swaggy P” (yes Lakers fans, you are allowed to cry). With a “cut and paste” roster without a chance to win anytime soon, I HIGHLY doubt he will be going to LA anytime soon; (unless he gets paid out the ass to play there).
Highkin, Sean. “Report: LaMarcus Aldridge Cancels Scheduled Meeting with The Knicks.” ProBasketballTalk. NBC Sports, 02 July 2015. Web. 02 July 2015. <http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/07/02/report-lamarcus-aldridge-cancels-scheduled-meeting-with-the-knicks/>.