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LaMarcus Aldridge, Nets Agree to 1-Year, $2.6M Contract After Being Cleared

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2021

San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge (12) reacts after scoring against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets.

Aldridge's agent, Jeff Schwartz, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski his client will sign a veteran minimum contract worth $2.6 million.

In April, Aldridge announced he was retiring from the NBA after experiencing an irregular heartbeat during a game. He said it was "time to put my health and family first."

LaMarcus Aldridge @aldridge_12

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The agreement came after Wojnarowski reported the Nets traded DeAndre Jordan, four future second-round draft picks and $5.78 million to the Detroit Pistons for Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya.

As a rookie in 2007, Aldridge was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which caused him to have a rapid heartbeat. While he experienced a recurrence in 2011 and minor heart arrhythmia in 2017, the health issue didn't impede his career.

In an interview with The Athletic's Shams Charania, the 36-year-old explained why he thought he needed to step away from the game:

"My first time in 2006, I blacked out on the bench. That's when we first found out that I had this condition. So what if I'm on the court and a big guy is coming down the lane, my heart is beating funny, and then I black out? He runs into me, and I can hurt my head on the floor. I can be paralyzed. What if I'm going for a dunk and I black out? There's so many things that can happen in a bad way."

He added that he thought "I still feel like I have a lot to give" on a basketball court.

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That quote proved to be prophetic, as Wojnarowski reported Aug. 4 that Aldridge was "seriously" considering a comeback after speaking with medical professionals. Wojnarowski noted the 6'11" big man would still need to pass the necessary team physicals.

Aldridge played in 26 games between his time with the San Antonio Spurs and Nets in 2020-21. He averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor.

Fans didn't get to see what he could do in a limited role on a title contender since he logged only five appearances with the Nets. The small sample was encouraging, as he enjoyed a career-high 61.1 percent true-shooting rate, per Basketball Reference.

Aldridge turned the mid-range jumper into his signature, which made him a throwback as teams encourage their players to either score inside or step behind the three-point line.

Over the past two seasons, he began expanding his range. He set a personal best with 61 made threes in 2019-20—hitting 38.9 percent of his attempts—and was slightly ahead of that pace in 2020-21, averaging 3.1 makes per game.

Aldridge is no longer in his prime, but his track record speaks for itself. He's averaging 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds through 15 seasons.

A diminished version of Aldridge still has value to a contender.

The Nets are familiar with his skill set, and he doesn't have to be a focal point of the offense with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden to lead the way.

If Aldridge can offer close to what he did during the 2019-20 season, he'll be a valuable role player for head coach Steve Kerr in the Nets' quest to win a championship.

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