The San Antonio Spurs and PF LaMarcus Aldridge have reached an agreement on a buyout, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Thursday evening following the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline. The Spurs were unable to find a trade partner for LMA and his contract was bought out, making him a free agent able to sign with any team. Aldridge has been linked to a few destinations, including a return to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Update: The Spurs have made the move official. Aldridge will become a free agent after clearing waivers.
The Spurs make it official: They have bought out LaMarcus Aldridge so he can become a free agent upon clearing waivers. pic.twitter.com/UxVHp3q8Zu— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 25, 2021
According to Shams, the Heat are the top contender to land Aldridge once he clears waivers. The Blazers are also in the mix with some other teams.
LaMarcus Aldridge gave back $7.25 million in contract buyout with the Spurs, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Aldridge was due $24M this season. The Miami Heat are a strong candidate to sign the former All-Star as a free agent, per sources, with Portland among others in mix.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 25, 2021
Some other teams are going to be in on Aldridge. His services will definitely be highly sought after with not as many big moves prior to the deadline. It feels like a lot of teams were waiting for the buyout market. So LMA is being looked at by the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets on top of the Blazers.
Aldridge isn’t the same player he once was, I’ve been over this a bit. He wasn’t playing well for the Spurs this season and has dealt with injuries later in his career (the past few seasons). So LMA heading to any contender would need some tempering of expectations. Still, he’s experienced and coming off the bench to provide some backup minutes will provide value to a contending team. Will LMA move the needle for the Lakers or Nets? Probably not that much. If Aldridge lands in South Beach after the acquisition of Victor Oladipo, well, the Heat would be looking pretty stacked.