During trade season, it seems that the Los Angeles Lakers are linked to every name under the sun. They’ve been pegged as fits for names like Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside and more. We can now add LaMarcus Aldridge to the list.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich revealed on Wednesday that the two sides are moving on, with Aldridge now sitting out of Spurs games. The Spurs are seeking to make a trade first but if that doesn’t materialize, a buyout would be the next option.
The Lakers have been in the market for a center for a while. Marc Gasol was supposed to be an upgrade at the position but is having a lackluster year. He’s averaging a career-low 4.8 points per game. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Gasol hasn’t lived up to the team’s expectation and they could go after Aldridge because of it:
My early focus here has been on the Lakers. Sources say they’re in the market for another big, in large part because the Marc Gasol experience hasn’t gone as well as hoped. 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. But, first, we have to wait and see if this is going to be a trade or a buyout.
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Lakers Have a History With Aldridge
Even at 35 years old, Aldridge can still make an impact for the Lakers. He’s past his days as an All-Star but is still averaging 13.7 points a game with the Spurs. That would be a big improvement over Gasol. However, Aldridge and the Lakers have a bit of history.
Back in 2015, Los Angeles was in their post-championship years and were NBA bottom-feeders. They were trying to make a splash by signing a big name like Aldridge. Not only did he not sign with the team, but he also made them look really bad in the process. According to Mike Bresnahan, who was with the Los Angeles Times at the time, Aldridge was strongly considering the Lakers before he met with them.
“LaMarcus Aldridge will not sign with the Lakers because he was unimpressed by their Tuesday night presentation, according to a person familiar with the situation,” Bresnahan wrote in 2015.
“He met with them the moment free agency began, considered them part of a ‘two-horse race’ with the San Antonio Spurs and ‘wanted to be wowed’ but was actually turned off by the lack of analytics on the basketball side of their pitch, the person added.”
The Lakers, in fact, requested and were granted a second meeting with Aldridge, in which they attempted to emphasize their on-court plans rather than the original focus on marketing opportunities. But they still struck out with Aldridge.
Those were very dark days for the Lakers and signaled that the team needed a change of leadership. Former general manager Mitch Kupchak was fired two seasons after that.
Things Are Different in Los Angeles Now
A lot has changed since Aldridge scorned the purple-and-gold. The Lakers did have a lot of bad years so the seven-time All-Star probably made the right call in choosing San Antonio. However, things are very different in Los Angeles these days.
Once LeBron James and Anthony Davis came to town, the Lakers became a powerhouse. They are coming off a championship season and are poised to repeat. Aldridge hasn’t won a championship throughout his long career. Perhaps he could do things over, join the Lakers and win a title.