LaMarcus Aldridge finalizing buyout with Spurs. The skilled veteran big man will have his choice of teams to sign with after the Spurs buy him out. Shams Charania reported that Aldridge is “finalizing a contract buyout with the” Spurs. This news isn’t a surprise as the Spurs and Aldridge agreed to part ways earlier.
Woj also added that the final cash buyout for Aldridge is $5.8 million meaning he gave some of his salary back to the Spurs.
Aldridge was a huge free agent signing for the Spurs. Typically, the Spurs developed players internally. Aldridge’s signing with the organization cemented their legitimacy as a free agent destination despite being a small market. The Spurs paired Aldridge with budding superstar Kawhi Leonard, and they made a run to the Western Conference Finals. However, their run was ended when Leonard landed on Zaza Pachulia’s foot and sustained a high ankle sprain.
From there, Aldridge’s age started to catch up with him. For not as explosive players, losing a little bit of acceleration can severely impact their game. He started to turn into a stretch big who struggled on defense.
During his time on the Trailblazers, Aldridge player the four next to Greg Oden. He shifted more to the five later in his career on the Spurs. Even at the center spot, Aldridge is still too slow to guard in the pick and roll.
Aldridge’s value comes as a skilled offensive five. He can hit the pick and pop three and space the floor. In the short roll, he can make intelligent reads and has the touch to finish from all over the paint. If a team needs a basket, he can score from the post with his arsenal of turnarounds and hooks.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Miami Heat are front runners to sign Aldridge after the Spurs and Aldridge agree to a buyout.
How Aldridge Can Help the Heat
Aldridge is an interesting contrast to the bigs the Heat have on their roster. Bam Adebayo is way more athletic and has a ball-handling skillset as a big. Aldridge is more of an old-school back-to-the-basket big that moved to the three-point line in the three-point era.
However, the Heat unloaded Kelly Olynyk in the Victor Oladipo deal and now lacks a backup center. Aldridge can come in and fill those minutes. Olynyk was a little quicker and could handle the ball surprisingly well, but Aldridge can still shoot the ball and gives the Heat second unit an interior presence if needed. It’s easy to see the Heat start running some offense through the high post and elbows through Aldridge. He can hit cutters easily from that spot or hit Duncan Robinson coming off a pindown.
At times the Heat’s offense stagnates a bit. Aldridge can soak up some of those possessions and create some shots for himself and his teammates.
His defense is a concern and probably prevents him from getting minutes in the playoffs. Teams will target him in the pick and roll and run him off the floor. However, Bam Adebayo will likely play minutes into the 40s, so Aldridge can give him a rest for a few minutes if needed. However, it might be a good idea for the Heat to acquire one more backup big who’s a little more mobile.
The Heat have been active at the deadline this year. They added Victor Oladipo to their guard rotation and possibly Aldridge to add some big man depth.