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LaMarcus Aldridge retires after heart scare

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Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a cardiac incident last week, LaMarcus Aldridge announced Thursday that after 15 years in the NBA, he is retiring from the game.

Shams Charania first reported the news in a series of tweets.

In a statement issued Thursday morning, Aldridge, a seven-time All-Star with Portland and San Antonio, laid out the issue and his decision...

“You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it everyday. I can truly say I did just that,” wrote Aldridge, who is 35 and was only 49 points short of 20,000 points for his career.

Sean Marks also issued a statement on behalf of the Nets...

Marks played with Aldridge in Portland and worked with him in San Antonio.

And Joe Tsai tweeted out his thoughts...

And in San Antonio, the Spurs Gregg Popovich issued this statement...

“LaMarcus Aldridge enjoyed a wonderful NBA career. He was a consummate professional with a unique skill set and a deep respect for the game. We’re grateful for his contributions, both on and off the court, during his time here in San Antonio.

““I’m proud of him for making this difficult decision and we wish him and his family all of the best in the future.”

Aldridge joined the Nets on March 28 after being released by the Spurs. In five games with Brooklyn, he averaged 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27 minutes a game. He’s been listed as out with a non-COVID illness for the Nets last two games.

There is growing medical research on how very tall men are susceptible to sudden cardiac death. Five former Nets have died from the condition. A 2016 study by Dr. David Engel of Columbia University on behalf of the NBA found basketball players have the highest incidence of sports-related sudden cardiac death among all athlete groups.

Jeff Stotts of the In Street Clothes blog tweeted that Aldridge has been treated in the past for heart issues, noting that he had been diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome, a rare congenital condition that causes a rapid heartbeat and lead to serious heart problems. Aldridge, Stotts reported, underwent procedures in 2007 following his initial diagnosis and prior to the start of the 2011 season. Both procedures occurred while he was a member of the Trail Blazers. He also reported an arrythmia in March of 2017 while with the Spurs.

As word spread, many current and former NBA players, some one-time teammates, tweeted out their best wishes...

The Nets will now presumably waive Aldridge, opening up a roster spot. The Nets also must decide what to do with Chris Chiozza who underwent surgery on the third metatarsal of his right hand Wednesday and is likely out for the season. Also uncertain is whether Spencer Dinwiddie can return from his torn ACL surgery.

As for the rotation going forward, DeAndre Jordan, who earned a double-double Wednesday night, will likely move back into the starting center spot with Nicolas Claxton and Blake Griffin also getting time there. It’s also possible Kevin Durant could see time at the 5.