The Golden State Warriors could be in the market for LaMarcus Aldridge after reports that the big man is on the way out of San Antonio, but an insider says their pursuit could only come under one specific condition.
Spurs president and coach Gregg Popovich said this week that the team and Aldridge have mutually agreed to part ways, and San Antonio will now be considering trade offers. Competition is expected to be high, and a Warriors insider believes that Golden State could be in the mix — though likely not right away.
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Warriors Could Hope for Buyout
Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area rated the likelihood of the Warriors pursuing Aldridge, concluding that it would be too costly for the team to swing a trade for him.
Despite rumors that the Warriors had interest in Aldridge this offseason, White noted that it would now be difficult for Golden State to make a trade work out. Aldridge has a $24 million expiring contract, meaning the Warriors would need to add several players on top of someone like Kelly Oubre Jr. to even start to make the money match.
Instead, White suggested that the Warriors could have interest if Aldridge ends up getting a buyout.
“If Aldridge is traded to another team and bought out, the Warriors surely would be one of many teams with playoff aspirations interested in signing the veteran. That doesn’t necessarily mean Aldridge would be interested, considering where Golden State resides in the standings,” he wrote.
Competition Could be High
Selling Aldridge on the merits of joining a Warriors team hanging around the edge of the playoff picture could be even more difficult given the expected level of competition. League insider Sam Amick told The Athletic that he believes the Los Angeles Lakers are an early frontrunner given that the club hasn’t been pleased with how Marc Gasol is panning out.
The Lakers could also want Aldridge to help load up for another title run, Amick added.
“And when you’re a reigning champion who sees all these other squads looking capable of stealing your crown, it’s never a bad idea to load up on options,” he said, adding that it remains to be seen whether Aldridge would be moved via trade or take a buyout instead.
The Spurs are reportedly optimistic that they would be able to deal Aldridge and avoid going the buyout route.
Amick pointed to another Western Conference contender as a potential landing spot, one that at first glance would seem unlikely. He noted that Aldridge seems to have moved beyond the bad blood that led to his exit from Portland, and sees the Trail Blazers as a potentially strong fit.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers has made it clear that the team would only be pursuing deadline moves that would help for the long-term. While the Warriors are struggling to stay in the playoff picture this year, the team is hoping to return to title contention with the expected return of Klay Thompson next season.