UPDATE: The Nets on Sunday signed LaMarcus Aldridge for the rest of the season.
LaMarcus Aldridge, who the Spurs shut down on March 10 and waived Thursday, will join the Brooklyn Nets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania.
Aldridge is expected to see a significant amount of his minutes at center for the Nets.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 27, 2021
The signing would seem to take the Nets out of the bidding for the other bigs who either have been bought out or are likely to be, including Andre Drummond and Gorgui Dieng
Both Woj and Shams — along with Miami Heat execs — believed that Aldridge was headed to Miami but changed his mind and spoke with the Nets in recent days. First word that Aldridge might consider the Nets came from Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports early Friday morning.
Yahoo Sources: LaMarcus Aldridge will have conversations with the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets before deciding on his next destination.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 26, 2021
But still, the Heat were considered the front-runners. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald said Saturday night that the change-in-direction was all about Aldridge’s expectation that the Nets are the better bet to win the NBA title.
I asked Aldridge associate what changed his mind from original expectation that he would sign with Heat, which was expected by the Heat. He said was convinced to join Brooklyn because they are in good position to compete for a championship. Heat recent losing streak didn't help.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) March 27, 2021
The Nets now have 14 standard contracts, two two-ways in Chris Chiozza and Reggie Perry and a 10-day contract in Alize Johnson. Aldridge is the second major buyout to sign with a new team. The other was Blake Griffin, who is also a Net.
Aldridge, at 35, will become the Nets oldest player, supplanting Jeff Green. The 6’11” Aldridge is a seven-time All-Star and a five-time All-NBA selection. He has played with the Spurs since 2015-16 when he overlapped with Sean Marks until Marks left San Antonio for the Nets GM job in February 2016. Marks was the Spurs assistant GM.
In recent years, his output has tailed off and the Spurs have moved into a rebuilding mode which led to the mutual decision on March 10 to let him pursue other options. Aldridge was playing on an expiring $24 million contract. No word on how much he gave up in the buyout.
After a first half where he was plagued by injuries, primarily to his hip and quadriceps, Gregg Popovich decided to bring Aldridge off the bench. He played a reserve role in the three games that he did play, the first time he hadn’t started since he was a rookie with Portland. He was averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game at the time with a shooting line of 49/32/81.
At the time of decision to shut down, Popovich praised Aldridge.
“He’s been a great teammate. No problem there,” Popovich said on March 10. “We just think this is a win-win for both LaMarcus and the club. When an opportunity arises, that’ll be up to management, his agent and that sort of thing, and we’ll all move forward.”
And when word broke Saturday about Aldridge signing with Brooklyn and his protege, Sean Marks, Pop told reporters. “Wherever LaMarcus goes, we wish him well. He was a wonderful teammate and he’ll do a very good job in Brooklyn. He’s familiar with the staff up there, so wish him well...” Indeed we count seven Nets staffers who overlapped with Aldridge in San Antonio, including Marks, assistant GM Andy Birdsong and assistant coaches Ume Okaofor and Jacque Vaughn.
In his last game on March 1, ironically against the Nets, Aldridge scored two points in 15 minutes. As they did with Griffin, the Nets are expected to slowly integrate Aldridge in their system and provide their performance team an opportunity to work with him on any lingering injuries. In Griffin’s case, he hadn’t played since February 12 and made his debut with Brooklyn on March 21.
- Brooklyn Nets continue to add depth for postseason, agree to deal with LaMarcus Aldridge, agent says - Adrian Wojnarowski - ESPN
- What LaMarcus Aldridge’s arrival means for the Brooklyn Nets - Kevin Pelton - ESPN+
- AP source: LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with Brooklyn Nets - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Nets signing LaMarcus Aldridge to loaded roster - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- LaMarcus Aldridge to join Nets: report - Dennis Young - New York Daily News
- Nets sign big man LaMarcus Aldridge to already deep squad - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Brooklyn Nets shock NBA world again, land LaMarcus Aldridge - Mike Mazzeo - Forbes Sports Money
- LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with Nets: reports - Ryan Morik - SNY
- Report: Nets add LaMarcus Aldridge to increasingly loaded frontcourt - Jack Baer - Yahoo! Sports
- Report: LaMarcus Aldridge to Sign With Nets - Nick Selbe - Sports Illustrated
- Reports: LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with Brooklyn Nets - NBA.com