Former All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge became one of the biggest names on the open market when it was announced he would take time away from the San Antonio Spurs as they pursued a trade. A deal never materialized, so Aldridge was bought out by the team and became a free agent.
When he was bought out, there were four teams that became the prime contenders for his services. The Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, L.A. Clippers, and Brooklyn Nets were all potential destinations that he planned to meet with. However, it was the Heat that was seen as the early frontrunner and his assumed final destination.
Aldridge took a shocking route on Saturday when it was reported that he would be signing with the Nets for the rest of the season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 27, 2021
With the Lakers having been among his final candidates, him going to the Nets stings a little. The Nets, led by Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, have already added Blake Griffin via the buyout market. Adding Aldridge to that as well gives them more depth in the frontcourt, even if Griffin and Aldridge are past their primes.
Part of the reason L.A. did not get as serious of consideration from Aldridge could be their pursuit of Andre Drummond. Drummond is the other big name on the buyout market, and the Lakers have reportedly been laser focused on adding him to their roster.
If the Lakers are able to sign him — and it appears to be heading in that direction — then it would solve one of their major issues this season. And with one open roster spot left afterward, and a chance to get healthy, the Lakers should find themselves back at the top of the contender leaderboard.
Lakers among finalists for Drummond, considered strong frontrunner
Despite many teams joining the bidding war for Drummond, it appears that two teams have cemented themselves as the head of the pack. The Lakers and Boston Celtics sit atop the Drummond leaderboards, but it seems that the Lakers have an edge for his services.
Reportedly, a decision is expected by the end of the weekend, but there has been nothing signed or finalized yet.
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