While it was a disappointing surprise when LaMarcus Aldridge snubbed the Miami Heat to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, there was a large hope the franchise would shift their focus to obtaining another veteran, Gorgui Dieng.
Memphis Grizzlies center Dieng, like Aldridge, was bought out of his contract before the trade deadline and was a hot commodity the minute he hit the market. According to The New York Times‘ Marc Stein, “Since securing his release from Memphis, Dieng has been pursued by the Knicks, Suns, Clippers, Sixers, Raptors, Heat and Nets in addition to the Spurs, sources say.”
While many fans expressed on Twitter their belief that Dieng better fit with Heat culture than Aldridge, Miami was once again beat out in acquiring the 28-year-old two-way player.
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On March 28, the San Antonio Spurs came out as the winner of the bidding on Dieng. In order to make room for the Louisville alum, the team released Marquis Chriss, Stein tweeted.
The announcement stated, “The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have waived forward Marquese Chriss. Chriss was acquired by the Spurs in a trade with the Golden State Warriors on March 25. He did not appear in a game with the Silver and Black. The Spurs roster now stands at 16 players.”
Dieng is averaging 7.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists thus far this season. He’s shooting 47.9% from beyond the line.
Aldridge Chose the Nets Over the Heat Because He Wanted to Be With a Contending Team
All the stars were aligned for Aldridge to join the Heat after the Spurs bought out his contract, so it came as a huge surprise when the veteran chose to sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Heat were the frontrunners to sign the seven-time All-Star, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted on March 27, “Free agent LaMarcus Aldridge plans to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, sources tell ESPN. Agent Jeff Schwartz of @excelbasketball confirms Aldridge’s commitment to signing with Nets to ESPN now.”
As for why Aldridge chose the Nets over the Heat, Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweeted that he “asked Aldridge associate what changed his mind from original expectation that he would sign with Heat, which was expected by the Heat. He said was convinced to join Brooklyn because they are in good position to compete for a championship. Heat recent losing streak didn’t help.”
The Heat have lost their past six consecutive games and as of March 28, sit in the eigth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Brooklyn Nets are in second place just one game behind the Philadelphia 76ers. As for the Spurs, they are currently in seventh place in the Western Conference.
Miami will look to start turning things around when they take on the New York Knicks on Monday, March 29.