Where there's smoke, there's fire and LaMarcus Aldridge could reportedly get his wish when the NBA Draft rolls around.
The two-time All-Star and franchise cornerstone for the Portland Trail Blazers has long been rumored in trade possibilities since the middle of this past season. As the rumors heat up, it seems more and more probable that a potential trade could send Aldridge out of Rip City
Jason Quick of The Oregonian hinted why Aldridge might want to leave.
See, Aldridge wants to end his seven-year run with the Blazers because he thinks Portland is too small. Too boring.
While Portland is not considered a major media market, the spotlight shines brighter on the Blazers as they are the only team in town—a fact that Aldridge has lamented.
“This is why I hate being in Portland,’’ he told Quick late this past season. “You can’t do anything.’’
Leading up to the draft, Aldridge's name has continued to pop up in trade proposals and rumors. It started Tuesday with the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly offering two first-round picks.
Word is, Aldridge wants to escape from Portland's rebuilding project and has made it known that he'd like to land in Chicago.
Deng for Aldridge won't get it done. The Blazers want Joakim Noah in return and the Bulls don't want to give up the superior defensive big man.
The rumor mill then turned toward a fellow Western Conference rival after ESPN's Ramona Shelburne tweeted talks did include Blazers GM Neil Olshey calling up the team he used to work for.
While the possibility sounds far-fetched at the moment for the Blazers to trade Aldridge, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported that Portland could be enticed with the right package.
Where do the Blazers go from here?
With any trade, the Blazers would immediately become Damian Lillard's team after the Weber State product earned Rookie of the Year honors.
It's hard to fault Aldridge, though, who has endured many trying times in Portland that included the initial rebuilding effort when he got drafted in 2006. Along with Brandon Roy, the Blazers reached the playoffs three straight years from 2009 through 2011.
Portland failed to advance past the first round each time, as the franchise hasn't done so since the 1999-2000 season.
The Blazers have the leverage with Aldridge being under team control for the next two seasons. However, they run a growing risk of losing him in free agency when his contract expires after the 2014-15 season as he enters his prime years at 29.
Portland may have no choice, and the rumblings should get louder as time goes on. The Blazers may eventually have no other options with an unhappy Aldridge and will have to get something in return while they can at his peak value.