Spurs to part ways with LaMarcus Aldridge; should Celtics pursue former All-Star?

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Nick Goss
·3 min read
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Spurs to part ways with Aldridge; should Celtics pursue former All-Star? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

LaMarcus Aldridge's career with the San Antonio Spurs is likely going to end soon.

The Spurs and the former All-Star power forward have agreed to part ways, head coach Gregg Popovich confirmed before Wednesday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks. Now the question is whether the Spurs will be able to trade Aldridge and his $24 million salary. If a trade isn't possible, then he could be bought out, which would make him a free agent and able to sign with any team.

Who are the potential suitors for Aldridge?

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Here's what ESPN's Brian Windhorst said Wednesday night on "SportsCenter".

“Over the next two weeks, we’re going to hear a lot about power forwards because they’re very desired in the market,” Windhorst said. “We’re also going to hear about the cost of renting players and that’s where LaMarcus Aldridge fits -- a power forward who is available for rental who makes $24 million. It’s a very hard trade to put together. There’s only a few teams that really can do it in a straight-up trade. One of them is the Boston Celtics with a $28 million trade exception. They could do it very easily. The problem is, do they want to use that trade exception on a guy they’ll only have for a couple of months?

“So, if he doesn’t end up getting traded, we could see him get bought out two weeks from now and then you will see a free-for-all trying to get LaMarcus Aldridge. The Lakers could be in that game. The Phoenix Suns, where he almost signed a few years ago could be in that game. Even the Portland Trail Blazers, where he started his career, could be in that game, in addition to the Celtics at that point.”

The Celtics could fit Aldridge's salary in their $28.5 million traded player exception, but the Spurs veteran isn't the type of player Boston should be acquiring with the TPE. The C's need a legitimate third or fourth option -- like Harrison Barnes or Nikola Vucevic -- and using the TPE is an effective way to facilitate that kind of move.

Aldridge is no longer an impact player for a championship contender, though. He's averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game. His scoring average has decreased in each of the last three seasons.

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Aldridge also is 35 years old and doesn't fit the Celtics' timeline of building around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown long term.

However, if Aldridge were bought out and the C's could get him on the cheap, then maybe a move would make sense. The problem there is that if Aldridge was a free agent, Boston probably wouldn't be the most appealing destination. The Celtics are not one of the top title contenders this season, and as a 15-year veteran without a championship ring, Aldridge might prefer a team such as the Lakers.

The Celtics absolutely should make a move (or two) before the trade deadline and bolster their roster for the playoffs, but a deal for Aldridge isn't the best path for the C's to take in that regard.