There were conflicting reports this summer about whether LaMarcus Aldridge wanted to be traded, but Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher hears that there was a deal in the works that would have sent him to the Bulls for Joakim Noah. It’s not clear how close the deal came to happening or whether it was the Blazers or Bulls who initiated the talks, but Portland indeed made Aldridge available in the offseason, Bucher writes.
Rumors about Aldridge have become less frequent since the start of the season as his career-best performance has helped the Blazers to a 23-5 record that has them atop the Western Conference. He’s averaging 23.1 points and 11.0 rebounds a game, both career highs, and his 22.7 PER matches his best mark from his seven previous NBA seasons.
The Bulls drafted Aldridge second overall in 2006, but sent him to Portland in a regrettable draft-night deal that brought in a package of Tyrus Thomas and little else. Chicago might have brought Aldridge back this summer, but it would have cost the Bulls an All-Star of their own in Noah. It’s not clear if there were other players in the discussion, but a one-for-one swap of Aldridge and Noah wouldn’t have worked under salary-matching rules, since it would have added too much to Chicago’s payroll.
I’d be quite surprised if the Blazers revisited Aldridge talks with the Bulls or any other team, given Portland’s fast start, so it seems the scenario will remain a “what if?” proposition.