Several league sources told ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard on June 25 that Portland Trail Blazers star forward LaMarcus Aldridge will not re-sign with the team.
It's looking more like LaMarcus Aldridge will not re-sign with the Portland Trail Blazers.
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Several league sources told ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard on June 25 the four-time All-Star power forward, who is an unrestricted free agent, has plans of signing with another team.
The Blazers trading shooting guard Nicolas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday was the kicker, per ESPN.
"He's gone," a Blazers team source told ESPN on Thursday. "There's a 99.9 percent chance that he's out of Portland."
One of the reasons Aldridge is leaving Portland is because he feels the team is not capable of luring big-name free agents. What's more is he feels underappreciated by the team. He's also craving for new scenery, per ESPN.
The ESPN sources also add the Blazers have been reaching out to Aldridge and his camp to get a feel of what their plans are before July 1, the beginning of free agency on the NBA's calendar.
A Western Conference executive also told The Columbian's Erik Gundersen on Thursday that Aldridge has already told the Blazers he will not re-sign with them.
Another league executive told The Columbian the Batum trade seemed like "a rebuilding move." Other league sources told Gundersen that Portland is "not done" making major roster moves this offseason.
Among the teams Aldridge has identified as the ones he will consider are the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks. He is thinking more and more about signing with the Lakers although the ESPN sources believe he will end up with the Spurs.
"He has tons of respect for coach (Gregg) Popovich," Broussard's league source revealed. "And he thinks highly of their organization and front office."
San Antonio will be familiar breeding ground for Aldridge as he attended college at nearby University of Texas at Austin, per ESPN.
For their part, the Lakers now believe they are in a position to acquire Aldridge via the free agency route. They will also try to convince their in-state and division rivals, the Sacramento Kings, to trade All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, per ESPN.
The Lakers and Knicks' chances of getting Aldridge will largely hinge on who they will draft on Thursday and the players they sign in free agency. Broussard's sources say Aldridge visited his offseason home near Los Angeles this week.
The ESPN update labeled the Cleveland Cavaliers "a long-shot candidate" in signing Aldridge. The likeliest scenario for that to happen is a sign-and-trade with Kevin Love, who decided to opt out of his two-year deal with Cleveland on Wednesday.
In the event Aldridge does leave, the Blazers will go all out on Love, per ESPN. Portland now has $4 million more in cap space after dealing Batum to Charlotte. This gives Blazers general manager Neil Olshey more leverage in signing other players if Aldridge decides to bolt for free agency.
Gundersen's sources say trading Batum also paves the way for the Blazers either to pay swingman Wesley Matthews more or sign a big-name free agent like Love.
Aldridge has also singled out the Hawks as a team he is looking forward to joining because he believes he and center Al Horford will be a formidable frontcourt tandem, per ESPN.
Portland is also determined to sign point guard Damian Lillard to a long-term, max deal "in the $120 million range," per ESPN.
The 29-year-old Aldridge has averaged 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 648 career regular-season games for the Portland Trail Blazers, per ESPN stats.
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