Monday, October 3, 2022

Nets hit with truth bomb about the 7-time All-Star’s future

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Brooklyn Nets fans were thrilled in January 2021 when the franchise acquired All-Star guard James Harden from the Houston Rockets. Pairing him with another MVP honoree in Kevin Durant and a prolific all-around player in Kyrie Irving would certainly cause quite a stir in the Eastern Conference.

But just as important as the stars were the role players the team cast around them. It was important to have role-players whose skills meshed well with those of Harden, Irving, and Durant.

One of those key role players was 7-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge was originally signed by the Nets after reaching a 2021 acquisition agreement with the San Antonio Spurs. But a discovery in his heart caused him to retire that same season.

However, during the 2021-22 season, in a shocking turn of events, Aldridge was cleared by doctors to resume basketball activity and agreed to return to the Nets. Unfortunately for the veteran big man, he was buried at the end of Brooklyn’s bench for most of the season and eventually fell out of Steve Nash’s coaching rotation.

Aldridge is not expected to return to the Nets or any other team this season. During a recent episode of their podcast, The Crossover, Howard Beck and Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated hinted that Aldridge might be thinking about retirement again, noting that he’s “probably” calling it a career.

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Aldridge’s resignation may come as a surprise to some, but it really shouldn’t. After he left Nash’s rotation, most Nets free agents like Aldridge and Blake Griffin expected to hit the ground running and meet up with other teams during the free agency period. But until now there has been very little news on Aldridge and where he will play next season.

But as it stands now, Aldridge is an active NBA player and seasoned veteran whose presence would be beneficial to any team. While retirement may be on the ex-Nets bigman’s mind, Sports Illustrated’s Brett Siegel thinks Aldridge could find a new home with the Phoenix Suns.

“Not many teams want to add a veteran like him at this point in the offseason, but the Phoenix Suns still have an open roster spot and could use LaMarcus Aldridge in more ways than one.

With Deandre Ayton and Bismack Biyombo returning to free agency this offseason, as well as the return of Dario Saric from a knee injury he sustained in the 2021 NBA Finals, it doesn’t seem like the Suns are on at this point need more frontcourt talent,” Siegel writes.

“However, Aldridge can play both the power forward and center positions, providing some much-needed depth behind starting forward Jae Crowder on the Phoenix depth chart.”

The Suns aren’t the only team that could sign the experienced big man. So could the Nets’ Eastern Conference rival, the Boston Celtics, according to Bleacher Report’s Paul Kasabian. Having an injury-prone big man in Robert Williams and adding Aldridge to a group of veteran centers that already includes Al Horford could pay off.

“If the Celtics do anything, it could be to add a little more depth to the front-up. With that in mind, there are a few forwards or bigs out there if the C’s feel like they need reinforcements now or during the season. These include LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Montrezl Harrell, DeMarcus Cousins ​​and Hassan Whiteside,” Kasabian writes.

“Offering a 6ft 11in height and reach, Aldridge might be the best fit. He averaged 12.9 points with a 55.0 percent shooting and 5.5 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game. The long-time veteran won’t put up 25-30 minutes a night, but he could step in as needed and get into a championship lineup for the first time in his career.”

In the short time he was with the Nets, Aldridge contributed with his size and ability to blast the ground with his mid-range shooting. It will be interesting to see if he actually retires or ends up with another team.

In the short time he was with the Nets, Aldridge contributed with his size and ability to blast the ground with his mid-range shooting. It will be interesting to see if he actually retires or ends up with another team.

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