LaMarcus Aldridge Trade Rumors: Potential Landing Spots, Packages and Scenarios

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 18, 2013

LaMarcus Aldridge Trade Rumors: Potential Landing Spots, Packages and Scenarios

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    Other than those few seconds before the Chicago Bulls traded his draft rights for Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa, LaMarcus Aldridge has spent his entire professional career with the Portland Trail Blazers, but now he's firmly mixed up in trade rumors. 

    According to CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes, Aldridge wants out of Rip City once more: 

    The camp for Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge arranged a meeting with general (manager) Neil Olshey in a Las Vegas hotel lobby on Sunday to suggest several trade scenarios, a league source informed CSNNW.com.

    Aldridge's group brought up several names as potential trade targets—Al Horford, Anthony Davis, Joakim Noah, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love—but not all of those are even remotely realistic. The five packages I'm presenting are, though. 

    As Haynes reports, Aldridge has not formally requested a trade. He's just open to one and wouldn't mind being moved to a new team. 

    In all likelihood, the power forward will begin the season in the same uniform, but a poor showing from his teammates could result in some activity before the trade deadline passes. 

Atlanta Hawks

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    Potential Trade: LaMarcus Aldridge for Al Horford

     

    Al Horford is one of the players who was brought up in Haynes' article, though it appears unlikely the Atlanta Hawks would be willing to make this swap. 

    The two big men are fairly similar players, but Horford has become the face of this franchise. His versatility allows him to capably play either power forward or center, while Aldridge would be a little out of place should he slide over to the 5. 

    He was actually quite effective during the 2012-13 season when he played center, but it took too much of a toll on him, which is part of the reason Portland spent the offseason trying to find a true center who could take off the defensive pressure. 

    With Paul Millsap and Lucas Nogueira—who has looked quite promising during summer league—already on the roster, the Hawks don't have much motivation to trade a big man for another big man. However, they could be swayed if the Blazers were willing to sweeten the deal just a little bit. 

     

Chicago Bulls

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    Potential Trade No. 1: LaMarcus Aldridge for Joakim Noah

    This is the offer that the Blazers supposedly want the Chicago Bulls to consider, but general manager Gar Forman is just as likely to trade Noah as the Florida product is to send flowers to the Miami Heat without a hint of sarcasm.

    In other words, it ain't happening.

    Chicago has no reason to trade one of the best centers in the NBA for a power forward who would clog up the rotation alongside Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. Plus it goes against the whole defense-first mentality of the team. 

    Fortunately, there's a second option. 

     

    Potential Trade No. 2: Aldridge for Luol Deng and a first-round pick

    In this scenario, it's Portland who will likely be rather hesitant. 

    Deng has an expiring contract, and there's no guarantee he'd stay in Rip City. That means that the Blazers could essentially be trading their best player—sorry, Damian Lillard, but you aren't there quite yet—for a pick likely to be at the end of the first round and some cap space. 

    Should Aldridge actually demand a trade and/or refuse to play in Portland, this becomes a better option. There's no longer as much risk, but the reward is still there because Deng could sign an extension and allow the Blazers to replace one All-Star with another. 

Detroit Pistons

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    Potential Trade: LaMarcus Aldridge for Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey

     

    The Detroit Pistons have created a curious frontcourt jam after Joe Dumars got spend happy and decided to acquire Josh Smith. Now they're left trying to balance minutes for Smoove, Andre Drummond and Monroe. 

    Drummond is almost untradable, especially after his tour of dominance during the Orlando Summer League, which makes Monroe the best option to be moved.

    If the Pistons truly intend to play Smith at the 3, pairing him with a more versatile big man, one who can hit mid-range jumpers, is vital. Neither Monroe nor Drummond excels in that area, but it's Aldridge's specialty.

    He wouldn't solve the frontcourt clog, but he'd at least make everything fit together a bit better.

    Monroe has almost always played center since leaving Georgetown, but he's more than capable of playing power forward. He used 11 percent of the available minutes there during the 2012-13 campaign, posting an 18.2 PER and holding opponents to 16.0, according to 82games.com

    If he completely shifted to the 4, he'd get to complement Robin Lopez and Meyers Leonard quite nicely.

Golden State Warriors

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    Potential Trade: LaMarcus Aldridge and future first-round draft pick for David Lee and Harrison Barnes

     

    Can you imagine what the Golden State Warriors' starting five would look like after this trade? 

    They'd be throwing out Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Aldridge and Andrew Bogut. Talk about a nice mix of offense and defense, as there are stellar perimeter and interior defenders alike to compensate for any inefficiencies in the lineup.

    The Dubs can afford to make this trade thanks to the acquisition of Iggy. He makes Barnes significantly more expendable, as does the presence of Draymond Green on the bench. 

    Giving up Barnes certainly hurts—and he's the piece that likely makes Portland interested in this swap—but it's worth it to upgrade from Lee to Aldridge. They're similarly potent power forwards on offense, but Aldridge's offense just makes Lee look like he's sitting down on that end of the court. 

    According to Basketball-Reference, the Blazers allowed 3.1 fewer points per 100 possessions with Aldridge on the court in 2012-13. In stark contrast, the Warriors allowed 1.3 more points when Lee was on the court.

    And there's your motivation for making this swap if you're Golden State.  

Houston Rockets

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    Potential Trade: LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Freeland for Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas

     

    The most complicated trade of the bunch, this swap allows the Houston Rockets to form arguably the best starting five in the NBA while giving some of their young talent to the Portland Trail Blazers. 

    While Rip City won't want to take on Lin's massive contract, it's worth it so that they can balance out the salaries and acquire Asik, Jones and Motiejunas. They'd be adding depth and plenty of high-upside talent, especially after Jones looked like he was putting everything together during the Summer League. 

    It remains to be seen whether Robin Lopez and Asik could coexist in a starting lineup, but it's a risk worth taking if Aldridge truly wants out. Few packages offer this much talent in return. 

    Neither Lopez nor Asik played even a single minute at power forward in 2012-13, and both are relatively limited offensive players. However, Lopez has shown the lateral quickness and expanding range necessary to slide over to the 4. 

    During his last season with the New Orleans Hornets, he actually shot 54.8 percent from 16 to 23 feet, according to Basketball-Reference. Now he only took 42 attempts, but that was still an impressive conversion rate. 

    As for the Rockets, let's take a look at their new starting five: Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Aldridge and Dwight Howard

    Yes, please.