Stories of San Antonio Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge wanting to someday return to the Portland Trail Blazers have surfaced time and again over the last couple years. Recently, Aldridge’s desire was discussed once again, this time by former teammate Pau Gasol.
Gasol, who recently signed a one-year contract with the Blazers, said he spoke with Aldridge about joining the Blazers before he put his signature on the contract. Not only did Aldridge advise Gasol that Portland was indeed a good place to play, Gasol says that Aldridge hinted he may want to eventually return to the Blazers.
When Did The Rumors Of LaMarcus Aldridge’s Return To The Blazers Begin?
When Aldridge left the Blazers to sign with the Spurs, it was clear that he was unhappy with Portland. Specifically, there were rumblings that he didn’t appreciate that Damian Lillard received top billing with the Blazers and had become the face of the franchise.
The honeymoon in San Antonio didn’t last long and Aldridge famously asked head coach Gregg Popovich for a trade. At that point, whatever rift existed between Aldridge and Lillard had healed because Aldridge reportedly asked Lillard to help facilitate a trade between the Spurs and the Blazers so that he could return to Portland.
Aldridge didn’t go anywhere, of course. He not only worked out his disagreements with Popovich, he signed a contract extension through the 2020-21 season. Since then, it’s been all smiles between Aldridge and Popovich.
But even though Aldridge now appears to be happy in San Antonio, it sounds like Portland is where he wants to finish his career.
Earlier this month, Jabari Young of The Athletic added fuel to talk of Aldridge returning to the Blazers.
When Will LaMarcus Aldridge Leave The Spurs To Return To The Blazers?
All indications point to it not happening anytime soon. There’s been no talk of Aldridge being unhappy with the Spurs or rekindling his trade demands.
If he has another good season, it’s very likely that Aldridge will continue playing for the Spurs for another couple seasons. The Spurs could theoretically waive Aldridge after the upcoming season and only owe him $7 million of his $24 million 2020-21 salary — but that is a remote possibility unless his level of play falls drastically.
What we know is that it sounds like Aldridge simply wants his swan song in the NBA to be with the Blazers. For the Spurs, this is likely nothing to be concerned about. It’s harmless chatter, unless something unforeseen changes.
In the meantime, we’ll wait and see if Aldridge joins Popovich and Derrick White in Las Vegas as Team USA prepares for the World Cup.