After abruptly retiring from the NBA this past spring, 7-time NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the surprise of many. This summer the Texas native agreed to a one-year, $2.6 million free-agent deal to return to the Brooklyn Nets. Aldridge spent a short time with the Nets last season after reaching a buyout agreement with the San Antonio Spurs.
He only played five games for the Nets in 2021. But in those five games, Aldridge proved to be a steady hand for Brooklyn. He averaged 12.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. This included a 22-point explosion in a win against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 7 where he shot 8-12 from the field.
Despite his productiveness, a new report from Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report lists Aldridge as the weakest link in the Nets starting lineup.
“With Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Joe Harris, and Kevin Durant locked in as starters for the Brooklyn Nets, whoever shares the floor with them at center will be the weakest link by default,” Swartz writes.
“LaMarcus Aldridge figures to get the first crack at the job after ending his brief retirement and signing a one-year, $2.6 million deal to rejoin the Nets.”
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Swartz: Nic Claxton Best Long-Term Replacement for Aldridge
With the free agency signings of James Johnson and Paul Millsap, to go along with the re-signing of Blake Griffin, the Nets are loaded in the frontcourt. Brooklyn’s frontcourt also features their young and athletic rising star Nic Claxton who Swartz feels is the best long-term decision to start at center.
“Brooklyn has more options than ever at the center, with Aldridge and Griffin returning, James Johnson and Millsap signing one-year deals, and Claxton still on the roster,” Swartz continued.
“Starting Claxton and letting him develop alongside the starters would be the best long-term play, but the Nets need to win now. Griffin also showed he’s capable of handling the job during his 12 playoff starts, as he averaged 9.0 points and 5.9 rebounds, shot 38.9 percent from three, and played better-than-expected defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo at times.”
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Deandre Jordan Talks About Decision To Join Lakers
One familiar face who will not be in the Nets’ frontcourt this season is their now former center DeAndre Jordan. After getting traded from the Nets to the Detroit Pistons this summer, Jordan reached a buyout agreement with Detroit, thus allowing him to sign with a contender as a free agent. He signed a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, a new journey the All-Star center is raving about.
“Just to be able to be with a team like this with guys that you respect and guys that you’ve competed against for the past — going into my 14th season has been great in seeing, ‘I wonder what it would be like to play with this guy,'” Jordan said of his decision to join the Lakers per ESPN. “And you always think about that, whether you tell people or not.”
The Lakers ironically are also stacked in the frontcourt. Already having superstar Anthony Davis along with Marc Gasol, the Lakers added even more big men in Dwight Howard and now Jordan. With these two teams slated for a collision course in the NBA Finals, it will be interesting to see who ends up leading their feature frontcourts.