The next big date to watch for the Los Angeles Lakers during this season is the NBA Trade Deadline on March 25. All of the championship contenders are looking for that last piece to add and give them the best chance to win.
For the Lakers, another big man seems to be a focus and a playoff-tested veteran one is now available in LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs.
Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich announced prior to their game on Wednesday that the franchise and Aldridge had mutually agreed to part ways. This offers an extremely intriguing potential addition for a number of teams with what he brings to the table. While he isn’t the All-Star player he once was, Aldridge is still an extremely talented big and the Lakers could be a potential destination should things fall right.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Lakers are in the market for another big man due to the ineffectiveness of Marc Gasol and he believes they could be the best fit for Aldridge:
My early focus here has been on the Lakers. Sources say they’re in the market for another big, in large part because the Marc Gasol experience hasn’t gone as well as hoped.
Of course, the biggest impetus for Aldridge potentially joining the Lakers is whether he will be traded or bought out. A trade for Aldridge is highly unlikely as his contract is worth $24 million and the Lakers would have to give up multiple important rotation pieces for a player who is 35 years old and in his 15th season. A buyout, on the other hand, gives the Lakers the chance to sign him outright as a free agent.
It’s also worth wondering whether Aldridge is the type of big the Lakers need. The ideal fit would seem to be more of an athletic, rim-running big man who can protect the basket on defense. Aldridge is more of a pick-and-pop option offensively, much like Gasol and would likely run into those same pick-and-roll issues defensively that Gasol has seen. As a rim protector, his numbers are down this season, but he did average a career-high 1.6 blocks last season so he could step that up once again.
It is also worth noting that Aldridge has been dealing with hip and quadriceps injuries, missing eight of the Spurs’ last 11 games going into the All-Star break. In 21 games this season, Aldridge is averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 46.4% from the field and 36% from three-point range.
While neither he nor Gasol is a sure bet to give the Lakers quality postseason minutes, it is better to have more options for Frank Vogel to try if needed.
Jones signs second 10-day contract
As it stands, the Lakers still have another big man on the roster and he is going to be sticking around for at least a little while longer. Damian Jones signed a second 10-day contract with the team, which will give him more time to show he deserves to stick around for the rest of the season.
Jones averaged just four points in three games with the Lakers before the All-Star break, but undoubtedly flashed his athleticism and rim-protecting ability with four blocks across those games.
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