LaMarcus Aldridge Rumors: Ring-Chasing to Be 'Driving Force' After Spurs Buyout

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge runs up the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in San Antonio. Memphis won 129-112. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Darren Abate/Associated Press

If LaMarcus Aldridge receives a buyout from the San Antonio Spurs, he will reportedly focus his energy on signing with a team capable of winning a championship this season. 

Per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, the opportunity to win a championship will be the "driving force" for Aldridge on the buyout market. 

Brad Townsend @townbrad

Also told that Phoenix is in the post-buyout picture for Aldridge, although Miami and Brooklyn seem to be ahead of the Suns in the pecking order. https://t.co/xmTirJr8kd

Head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters on March 10 that the Spurs and Aldridge agreed to a mutual parting of ways. 

"LaMarcus is not with the team,'' Popovich said. "He's healthy, in that respect, but we've mutually agreed to work out some opportunities for him, and that'll be elsewhere. So, he won't be with the team moving forward."

There have been conflicting reports about whether Aldridge is going to be traded or bought out by the Spurs. 

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on March 15 that "all indications" are that Aldridge will be traded, and "interested GMs have been told that there are five teams firmly in the mix."

The following day, Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reported "league sources see it as more likely that Aldridge is bought out after the deadline." The Boston Celtics reportedly aren't interested in dealing for the big man, while the Miami Heat are "unlikely to put together the package of players needed to make [a deal] work."

Aldridge's contract could make him difficult to move in a trade because he has a $24 million cap hit. The Celtics and Heat are both over the cap and would have to send contracts back to San Antonio.

Boston does have a $28.5 million trade exception as part of the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade deal with the Charlotte Hornets last offseason.

Aldridge was averaging 13.7 points on 46.4 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21 games with the Spurs before stepping away from the team.