The Los Angeles Lakers remain in the mix for several key players ahead of the NBA trade deadline including Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported the Heat are the frontrunner to land Aldridge but added the Lakers are a possibility as well.
“And there’s a growing belief that LaMarcus Aldridge, the leader for LaMarcus Aldridge is the Heat,” Windhorst noted on The Hoop Collective podcast, via Real GM. “Now, let’s see how everything plays out this week. The Heat could make moves that change their dynamic. Other teams could make moves that change their dynamic. I know the L.A. teams have interest in LaMarcus too and the way things go, that could end up being the case. Multiple people I’ve talked to in the league with multiple teams believe that’s a possibility.”
Given Aldridge’s $24 million salary, the Lakers pulling off a trade for the big man appears unlikely unless they are willing to part with Montrezl Harrell and other role players. Like Andre Drummond, the Lakers stand a bigger chance at signing Aldridge if he receives a buyout from the Spurs. Aldridge is averaging 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21 appearances for the Spurs this season. The Spurs have shut down Alrdidge until they find a new home for the seven-time all-star center.
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The Lakers Are the Favorite to Land Andre Drummond If the Cavs Do Not Trade the Center
While Windhorst noted the Lakers are in the mix for Aldridge, Drummond appears to be the team’s top target to improve their frontcourt. Windhorst explained that the popular thought around the league is Drummond is “heading for the Lakers” if he receives a buyout from the Cavaliers. The preference for both the Spurs and Cavs is to receive something in return for their big men rather than agreeing to buyouts.
“The league believes, and I know that’s a vague statement, but I’m saying it that way to avoid trapping myself,” Windhorst explained. “The league believes, numerous teams I’ve talked to believe that Andre Drummond is heading for the Lakers if slash when he gets bought out.”
The Lakers were previously linked to P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza who both found new homes via trade. Another intriguing name to watch is J.J. Redick if he receives a buyout from the Pelicans as the Lakers desperately need shooters.
Popovich on Aldridge: ‘We’ve Mutually Agreed to Work Out Some Opportunities for Him’
Lakers fans should not rule out the possibility of Aldridge as a team like the Knicks or Heat could swoop in at the deadline to land Drummond. If Aldridge becomes available in the buyout market, the center likely becomes the Lakers’ top big man option behind Drummond.
“LaMarcus is not with the team,” Popovich noted on March 10, per NBA.com. “He’s healthy, in that respect, but we’ve mutually agreed to work out some opportunities for him and that’ll be elsewhere. So, he won’t be with the team moving forward.”
While March 25 signals the end of trade talks for this season, it is the beginning of the buyout market, particularly for contenders like the Lakers. Given the Lakers’ tight salary cap constraints, Los Angeles is expected to be much more active after the deadline with veterans who have received buyouts.
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