COMMENTARY | As the Thursday's NBA Draft approaches, the LaMarcus Aldridge trade rumors continue to heat up. Although there has been no word from the Blazers, or from Aldridge, that hasn't stopped pundits from speculating that the All-Star forward is certain to be traded this summer.
Here are some of the destinations that have been mentioned. It's worth noting that none of these rumors seem to be originating from sources within the Trail Blazers organization or from within the Aldridge camp.
Mike McGraw of the Chicago Daily Herald writes that Aldridge wants to be traded and that Chicago is a preferred destination. Here's what McGraw had to say:
Word is, Aldridge wants to escape from Portland's rebuilding project and has made it known that he'd like to land in Chicago.
Deng for Aldridge won't get it done. The Blazers want Joakim Noah in return and the Bulls don't want to give up the superior defensive big man.Here's one way to get Portland's attention: Offer Deng and Charlotte's future No. 1 pick. The Bulls are counting on that Bobcats' pick (acquired for Thomas, ironically), to pay off big, because it's unprotected in 2016.
Aldridge for Noah makes a lot of sense for the Blazers as it would help Portland solidify two of their biggest weaknesses: rebounding and a defensive presence in the paint. However, it would leave the Blazers without a true post up threat, and it does nothing to address the team's depth issues.
Almost as soon as the Cavs won the draft lottery the Aldridge-to-Cleveland rumors began. The package of players and picks coming back to Portland has taken a few different shapes, but usually includes some combination of the 1st overall pick, the 19th overall pick, Dion Waiters and/or Tristan Thompson.
If the Blazers were to make this trade, it would likely signal the start of a full scale rebuilding effort. Thompson and Waiters are both nice pieces, but both are still young and very raw. The same can be said for the first overall pick whether it's Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, or even Victor Oladipo.
Any time an All-Star caliber player is traded, young players and draft picks are usually the asking price. While the Cavs package certainly fits the bill, it doesn't seem enticing enough to give up one of the premier power forwards in the league.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne tweeted that the Blazers had been in contact with the Clippers regarding Aldridge, but were quickly rebuffed.
Aldridge had previously expressed his unwillingness to play center, so a pairing with Blake Griffin in the Clippers front court makes little sense. However, pairing Aldridge with current Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, could be a nice fit and it seems as if Portland has made those inquiries.
The Blazers have a lot of holes in their roster and almost no depth, but at the same time adding a couple of pieces to the core group of Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews could lead to a huge leap next season.
Needless to say, it's going to be an interesting offseason for the Portland Trail Blazers. Thursday's draft should give us our first glimpse into the direction the franchise is heading for the near future.
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