The 2015 NBA free agent class is headlined by a couple franchise cornerstones in Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, but neither player has publicly expressed a desire to leave his current setting.
However, according to Jason Quick of The Oregonian, the Portland Trail Blazers ought to be concerned about losing their star power forward in Aldridge.
“After an atrocious performance by the Blazers that at one point left Aldridge sitting alone on the bench as his teammates joined a late-game huddle, the Blazers need to worry about more than just losing this series.
They need to worry about losing one of the greatest players in franchise history.
Some Blazers players have already said they are worried free agency will take Aldridge away from Portland this summer. Earlier this month, before a home game, a Blazers player estimated the chances of him returning to Portland at 50-50.”
Money is not an issue, since the Blazers are only on the hook for $32 million in 2015-16, per HoopsHype. They can offer Aldridge a maximum contract and still have money to fill out the roster, perhaps starting with re-signing swingman Wesley Matthews and center Robin Lopez.
But Portland’s problem is a serious lack of depth. C.J. McCollum, Steve Blake, Allen Crabbe and Dorell Wright have occupied significant roles throughout the season. The Trail Blazers need to fill in the second unit’s pieces around Arron Afflalo, Chris Kaman and Meyers Leonard.
Maybe Aldridge recognizes that the franchise will have trouble reaching the elite standard in the Western Conference and competing for a championship. He has a superstar teammate in point guard Damian Lillard, but the duo can’t do it alone.
Aldridge might not leave Portland, especially considering last offseason he elected to wait so he could sign a five-year deal instead of a three-year contract. But the exit door is a now a little more cracked; Aldridge might slide his way out.
Photo: USA Today Sports