LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs Agree to Contract Buyout; PF Gives Up Reported $7.25M

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2021

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) tries to work the ball around Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

LaMarcus Aldridge's time with the San Antonio Spurs will end with a buyout. 

The team announced the move in the aftermath of Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Aldridge agreed to give back $7.25 million as part of the buyout.

San Antonio Spurs @spurs

Thank you, LA! 🙏 https://t.co/MSqLbuP2sT

Aldridge took to Twitter to thank San Antonio after the move became official:

LaMarcus Aldridge @aldridge_12

Five years of unforgettable memories....Thank you, San Antonio! https://t.co/tRscfpnZax

Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reports the expectation is Aldridge will likely join the Heat or Los Angeles Lakers, with the Brooklyn Nets also in the mix. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the Heat are considered the front-runner.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press added there is "increasing momentum" toward the veteran signing with Miami in the coming days.

Aldridge, 35, was averaging 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists before being held out of games starting March 10 as the Spurs explored trade options. 

"He's been a great teammate. No problem there," San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters when announcing the move. "We just think this is a win-win for both LaMarcus and the club. When an opportunity arises, that'll be up to management, his agent and that sort of thing, and we'll all move forward."

Aldridge's tenure in San Antonio was up and down itself, including a trade demand in 2017. The two sides met and hashed out their issues at the time, which resulted in the player signing a three-year extension to stay with the team.

He has maintained a stellar level of play under Popovich, continuing to knock down his patented mid-range jumpers while playing solid defense.

The Spurs have gone against the grain in the NBA, living in the mid-range with Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay. The result wasn't particularly positive last season, with the Spurs missing the playoffs for the first time in two decades, but they've rebounded in 2020-21 and seem to pay a little freer with Aldridge off the floor. 

The Spurs moving on from Aldridge marks an organizational shift, with the team recognizing it's time to retool around younger players.