This comes as a bit of a surprise. Veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge announced his retirement from the NBA after 15 seasons on Thursday afternoon. Aldridge had reached a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs a few months ago and signed with the Brooklyn Nets for the rest of 2020-21. He had been starting for the Nets before sitting out due to an illness the past few games. Following the Nets’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, LMA has decided to hang ‘em up and retire. He has been dealing with health issues and cited an irregular heartbeat as his reason for retiring.
Here’s a full statement Aldridge released on his Twitter:
Aldridge will go down as one of the more consistent bigs of the past two decades. The 7-time All-Star spent 15 seasons playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and briefly Brooklyn Nets. Aldridge was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 2nd pick in the 2006 NBA Draft and was traded to the Trail Blazers in a deal involving Tyrus Thomas. LMA averaged 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds over 9 seasons with the Blazers, making four All-Star games from 2011-2015 before signing with the Spurs.
The former Texas Longhorn spent parts of five seasons in San Antonio, making the All-Star game three times. Aldridge was also a five-time All-NBA selection and was All-Rookie back in 2006-07 with the Blazers. He’ll finish his career averaging 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds with 49/32/81 shooting splits 1,029 career NBA games. Unfortunately, Aldridge finishes his career without winning a win, though he could end up getting that elusive championship if the Nets end up winning it all this season.
Is Aldridge a Hall of Famer? The easy answer is no, but that isn’t a knock on LMA’s career work. Had he made a few championship teams in his prime, he’d have a very good case for the Hall. Aldridge bridged a gap between two eras of basketball in the mid-2000s and more recently with the evolution of offense in the NBA. As a more traditional post big, Aldridge tried to develop a 3-point shot later in his career. He was always a great mid-range shooter, however. Career longevity and consistency would be the big factors in LMA’s case for the Hall of Fame. Still, it seems like he’s on the cusp and closer to not getting in than getting in.
Where does this leave the Nets? Well, Brooklyn should be fine. Kevin Durant is back and it seemed eventually the team wouldn’t really need Aldridge to play much, which could have been a reason why he decided to just retire. If Aldridge wasn’t starting, the Nets likely opt to play DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin off the bench in the front court with Jeff Green and KD. LMA was likely going to be more of a reserve than anything and that’s a role he never really played throughout his prestigious career.