Portland Trail Blazers: Cavs Reportedly Interested in LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge, 27, will surprisingly be the oldest player on the team after Jared Jeffries was waived and with Sasha Pavlovic, 29, likely not to be retained.
The debate centered around whether Aldridge's prime years fit within the time frame of the rest of the Blazers' core with Damian Lillard (22 years old), Nicolas Batum (24), Wesley Matthews (26) and Meyers Leonard (21).
With the Cavaliers' hiring of Mike Brown again, the Cleveland front office appears to be wanting to rekindle the success it had when Brown was head coach. The Cavs were 272-138 (.663 winning percentage) under him over five seasons.
With the potential of LeBron James opting out of his contract in the summer of 2014, Cleveland could be setting up a run at reacquiring The Chosen One. Before that happens, the Cavs need a major talent upgrade to attract any big-time free agents, much less James.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, that plan has included "private" discussions of possibly acquiring Aldridge.
Privately, the Cleveland front office has pitched a fantasy of trading young players and picks to Portland for All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, sources said. Only, that's never going to happen. Cleveland is far higher on its two top-five picks, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, than the rest of the NBA.
It's also pretty well-known that LeBron has long admired Aldridge's game from afar after tweeting about him last year.
Man LaMarcus Aldridge aka LA got so much game!! Smooth out there.— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 5, 2012
So speculatively, what type of package could Cleveland put together to entice the Blazers?
The Cavs have assets, including three draft picks this year. They finished with the third-worst record in the NBA, which means they have a good shot at landing anywhere in the Top 3 and will draft no lower than sixth. Cleveland owns the Lakers' first-round pick at 19th overall after LA made the playoffs, according to The Plain Dealer.
Should the Blazers entertain trade offers for LaMarcus Aldridge?
The Cavs also hold the 33rd selection—the third pick in the second round.
Any potential deal would have to include Cavs' second-year big man Tristan Thompson, who averaged 11.7 points and 9.4 rebounds (13th in the league) per game this season. Like Aldridge, Thompson went to University of Texas. He was the fourth pick in the 2011 draft.
One fun fact about Thompson, however, is he did have the dubious distinction of nearly becoming the most-rejected player in NBA history, according to Stu Woo of The Wall Street Journal.
For most of the season, nearly 17%, or one in six, of Thompson's shots had been blocked. That's well above the 6.3%, or about one of 16, average for the league, according to NBA.com's statistical website, and it threatened Danny Fortson's 16.7% rejection rate in 1997-98, which is the highest for anyone who has attempted at least 500 field goals in a season since 1997, the earliest for which NBA.com has data.
So would a core of Lillard, Batum, Matthews, Thompson, Leonard and the Cavs' lottery pick be attractive enough for the Blazers to part ways with Aldridge?
Aldridge, remember, is a two-time All-Star entering his prime. The only two players this past season to average at least 20 points and eight rebounds per game were Aldridge and LeBron.
It's fun to speculate at least, and whether or not the Blazers should entertain offers for Aldridge or consider him a part of the team's future core.
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