Spurs head coach and president Gregg Popovich revealed Wednesday that Aldridge and the team have mutually agreed to part ways, per ESPN's Tim McMahon:
Pop on LaMarcus Aldridge: “We’ve mutually agreed for him to work on some opportunities elsewhere.” Aldridge will not be back with the Spurs.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 11, 2021
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, San Antonio is working on several trade scenarios, with no movement toward a contract buyout. A deal could be reportedly done as early as in the next week.
The decision will end a Spurs tenure that lasted six seasons, going back to 2015 when Aldridge joined the team as a free agent. He missed eight of the Spurs' last 11 games, which the team attributed to a hip injury and illness. His last game in San Antonio: a two-point effort against the Brooklyn Nets on March 1.
Aldridge is currently averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, shooting 46.4% from the field and 36% from deep for the 18-14 Spurs. He is playing on the second year of a two-year, $50 million contract, and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
LaMarcus Aldridge was once the Spurs' big splash
While Aldridge will exit San Antonio in a quiet fashion, the beginning of the Texas native's time with the team was quite loud.
A four-time All-Star with the Portland Trail Blazers and then the organization's best player since Clyde Drexler, Aldridge chose to leave the team after a 51-31 season (and disappointing first-round exit) for the Spurs, who were just one season removed from winning a championship behind their old Tim Duncan-led core, plus the rising Kawhi Leonard.
With Aldridge aboard, the Spurs had an argument for super-team status. That team finished 67-15, the best regular-season record in franchise history, but were overshadowed by the 73-9 Golden State Warriors and eliminated by the Oklahoma City Thunder, who still had Kevin Durant.
The Spurs entered a slow decline from there, with Duncan retiring the next offseason. Another 60-win season followed, plus a trip to the Western Conference finals, but the Durant-led Warriors swept them with ease. Leonard, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green all exited one years later for various reasons, and Aldridge was left as the team's veteran headliner alongside DeMar DeRozan.
Now 35 years old, it appears Aldridge will be looking for a new team with which he can compete for a ring.
What is LaMarcus Aldridge's trade market?
Aldridge hits the market alongside several other veteran big men. Blake Griffin just landed with the Brooklyn Nets via a buyout, and Andre Drummond appears headed for the buyout market, as well. DeMarcus Cousins is also a free agent.
The difference between Aldridge and that group is the report that the Spurs are working on trade scenarios, which could mean no buyout for Aldridge. That would change the math significantly.
If there really is a team willing to pay Aldridge's current salary, it would likely be a rising team with plenty of room on the payroll this year. The Charlotte Hornets could be a good example. The Boston Celtics also still have a massive trade exception thanks to Gordon Hayward.
If a trade doesn't materialize, a buyout would allow Aldridge to sign for a much lower salary with a contender. The Los Angeles Lakers are known to be interested in adding another big man, but there are plenty of teams out there that could use Aldridge off the bench.
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