LaMarcus Aldridge Rumors: Spurs Eye Trade; Heat, Blazers, Celtics Want Buyout

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2021

San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics are expected to be the leading suitors for LaMarcus Aldridge if he's bought out by the San Antonio Spurs.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the Spurs remain committed to finding a trade partner ahead of the March 25 deadline.

Aldridge and the Spurs agreed to not have the seven-time All-Star play for the franchise anymore while they explore trade options after returning from the midseason break.

The Spurs' largest obstacle in moving Aldridge is his $24 million base salary. While several contenders would love to add a veteran piece like the 35-year-old, who can stretch the floor beyond the arc and is still a solid defender in limited minutes, few can cobble together matching salaries they would be willing to move.

The Celtics have a $28.5 million trade exception they could use, but that seems unlikely. Boston has until November to utilize the exception and would likely prefer using it to acquire a younger player to pair with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

Charania reported the Celtics also have interest in Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins, who, at 23, would be a better fit within Brown and Tatum's age window.

A return to Portland would be something of a full-circle moment for Aldridge after he left the franchise in hopes of competing for an NBA championship. The Blazers have remained successful after turning over the franchise to Damian Lillard following Aldridge's departure in 2015 but could use help in the middle to fortify their roster for a playoff run.

The Heat could slot Aldridge into Kelly Olynyk's spot in the lineup or use him as a necessary backup to Bam Adebayo. Miami has been a haven for veterans in recent seasons.

However, none of the interested teams appear likely to find a workable trade for Aldridge ahead of the deadline, so a mystery team may wind up swooping in.