RUMOR: Western Conference execs peg Blazers, Nuggets, Suns, Kings as likely LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs trade destinations
In the wake of a slow start for the San Antonio Spurs, the team could be forced to make some swift changes in the upcoming weeks, including dealing their star forward LaMarcus Aldridge. The finesse power forward could find himself as the target for four different Western Conference teams, including the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and even his former team — the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers have rebounded after a poor start, winning three of their last six games after acquiring Carmelo Anthony. Whiteside is coming off breaking the franchise record for blocks in a game with 10 on Friday against the Chicago Bulls — and his trade value has finally picked up some steam after two years in a downslope.
“The Portland Trail Blazers could make sense,” a Western Conference exec told Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. “Would Portland give up Hassan Whiteside plus Zach Collins or a pick?”
The Nuggets could be another option after Nikola Jokic’s less-dominant start to the season, but only if the front office sees Aldridge as a four, despite his reduced mobility and the decline in his rebounding prowess.
“Maybe Denver could be a destination for Aldridge,” a Western Conference executive said. “If they think he can play the 4, it could make sense. He probably can’t play the 4 at this stage, but I don’t know how other front offices feel. Malik Beasley and Mason Plumlee for LaMarcus is one possible trade scenario.”
Another Western Conference executive mentioned the Suns as a potential buyer, considering the organization tried to get in on the Aldridge sweepstakes when the finesse four first became a free agent in 2015 and was “very close” to acquiring him. Phoenix has lost six of their last seven games after a 7-4 start to the campaign.
The Kings were also a potential, yet less likely destination:
Sacramento has wanted uninterrupted time for Bagley to grow, playing him almost exclusively at power forward last season and even signing Dewayne Dedmon to play center for the next three seasons. Trading for Aldridge would mean sliding Bagley to the center spot, and it remains to be seen if the Kings are willing to make that move before relinquishing assets.