When the Brooklyn Nets signed six-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge to a veteran’s minimum deal last month he was considered to be the missing piece to a team that desperately needed some help on the low block.
The Dallas native’s time with the Nets was short-lived as he announced on Thursday that he will be retiring from the NBA effective immediately.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) April 15, 2021
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LaMarcus Aldridge Announces His Retirement
Aldridge was one of the most highly-coveted free agents on the buyout market last month after being waived by the San Antonio Spurs especially by teams that are on the cusp of a championship this season.
Aldridge had a solid start for the Nets. In his last game on April 10 against the Lakers, he registered 12 points on 5-8 shooting from the field. Still, Aldridge could feel that something was not right with his body and has been out for the last three games listed on the Nets injury report as a non-COVID-19 related illness.
Unfortunately, for Aldridge the illness is an issue with his heart which will prevent him from playing basketball, thus cutting his 15-year NBA career short.
The 35-year-old penned a farewell letter on Thursday.
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Aldridge Has an Irregular Heartbeat
“My last game, I played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat. Later on that night, my rhythm got even worse which really worried me even more. The next morning, I told the team what was going on and they were great getting me to the hospital and getting me checked out,” Aldridge wrote on Thursday via his Twitter account.
Aldridge has never been an athletic player throughout his career, however during the team’s blowout loss to the Lakers last week he looked abnormally slow and it was evident that something was off.
“Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve experienced,” Aldridge continued.
“With that being said, I’ve made the difficult decision to retire from the NBA. For 15 years, I’ve put basketball first, and now, it is time to put my health and family first.”
— LaMarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) April 15, 2021
Alize Johnson Is a Rising Star
The loss of Aldridge is indeed a devastating one for Brooklyn, as they looked to make him a major part of the team’s rotation as they gear up for what they hope is a championship run.
The silver lining for the Nets in all of this is that Aldridge’s retirement will likely lead to more minutes for Alize Johnson who the Nets just signed to a long-term deal.
Johnson’s energy and effort on the court have been contagious for the Nets second unit and that was evident on Wednesday during the Nets’ near-victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers.
He spoke about bringing the intensity for the Nets after Wednesday’s loss.
“You know I got a huge family back at home and every time I go out there, I play for them I’m playing for my city,” Johnson said via SNY.
“And now the Brooklyn Nets organization and they took a chance on me and I love when people believe in me, so I go out there and go my hardest for them.”
Alize Johnson talks about the effort he brings every minute he's on the court:
"Just want to go out there and go my hardest for them" pic.twitter.com/V5XHg8uVt6
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 15, 2021
As devastating as the Aldridge news is, it is a blessing in disguise that he was able to address it so that he may retire with a clean bill of health.