Nicolas Batum knew his trade signaled the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge
Even if it surprised a lot of their fans, the 27-year-old French international already expected it and knew when his time in Oregon was over.
“No, no, no. I mean, he gotta do his own thing. I mean, I don’t even talk about him, with him, about that, and when I got traded, I knew, just, it was over. I mean, it turned the page, it was gonna give the team to Damian [Lillard] and CJ [McCollum]. I mean, that’s a good thing, because sometimes you need to… just to turn the page.”
Batum has since moved on and signed a lucrative contract last summer. Aldridge, on the other hand, went on to become an All-Star with the San Antonio Spurs and is looking to make a huge splash this year to try and win the championship. And despite losing four of their starters from the previous year, the Blazers were still able to make the playoffs last season led by Lillard and McCollum.
Things may have gone well for all parties involved, but they still could not help but wonder how far their team would’ve gone if they kept their lineup intact. The talent and experience would have been there by now and their core would be peaking at the same time, which does not make it difficult to imagine they could have been title favorites if all of them are still playing together.