All the stars were aligned for LaMarcus Aldridge to join the Miami Heat after the San Antonio 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.”
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“Nets have secured Aldridge and Blake Griffin in the buyout market. Brooklyn is loaded for a title run,” Wojnarowski continued. “Aldridge is expected to see a significant amount of his minutes at center for the Nets.”
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.”
It was only two days ago when Wojnarowski tweeted, “Once LaMarcus Aldridge completes a buyout with the Spurs, the Miami Heat are expected to emerge as a frontrunner to sign him, sources tell ESPN.”
Instead of joining Jimmy Butler Bam Adebayo, Victor Oladipo, and Trevor Ariza in South Beach, to win a title, he’s heading to Brooklyn to play alongside superstars James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.
Before the Trade Deadline, Miami Offered 3 Heat Players In Exchange for Aldridge
After the San Antonio Spurs and Aldridge mutually decided to part ways, the Heat were not just interested in Aldridge, they made a legit offer to acquire him.
Earlier this month, league sources told Hoopshype.com‘s Michael Scotto, “Miami has dangled veterans Avery Bradley, Maurice Harkless, and Meyers Leonard to match salaries as part of a trade package for San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.”
“The Heat would also have to add another minimum contract such as either Chris Silva or KZ Okpala and draft pick compensation to make a trade worthwhile for San Antonio,” Scotto added.
Clearly, that offer was denied. Instead, the Heat traded Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk in order to acquire Victor Oladipo from the Houston Rockets. Miami also made a trade to obtain Sacemrento Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica on March 25. In exchange for the 6-foot-11 Serbian star, the Heat sent over Moe Harkless and Chris Silva.
Even after making multiple moves on the NBA’s trade deadline day, the Heat were still the top candidate to sign Aldridge. The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted on March 25, “LaMarcus Aldridge gave back $7.25 million in contract buyout with the Spurs, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Aldridge was due $24M this season. The Miami Heat are a strong candidate to sign the former All-Star as a free agent, per sources, with Portland among others in mix.”