2:32pm: The Hawks have waived Aldrich, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). The timing of the move is likely no coincidence, as the path is now clear for the center to sign a deal overseas.
2:15pm: Veteran NBA center Cole Aldrich is expected to play in China during the 2018/19 campaign, a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). Goodman doesn’t offer any specifics on which team Aldrich is expected to join for the coming season.
Aldrich, who will turn 30 later this month, remains under contract with the Hawks for now. However, he has a non-guaranteed contract, and Atlanta is already carrying 15 players on fully guaranteed salaries, making the big man a long shot to earn a spot on the regular season roster.
It’s not uncommon for a player to line up a contract agreement in another league if he expects to be released by his NBA team. Earlier this offseason, for instance, news broke of David Stockton‘s new deal with German team Medi Bayreuth approximately two weeks before he was actually waived by the Jazz.
In Aldrich’s case, he and his representatives may have received word that a roster spot in Atlanta isn’t in the cards and gotten a head start on seeking out another professional opportunity. That remains unconfirmed though.
Aldrich spent the last two seasons in Minnesota, playing a limited role for the Timberwolves. In 2017/18, he appeared in just 21 games and played only 49 total minutes. While his contract covered the 2018/19 season, Aldrich’s salary for the coming year only featured a modest partial guarantee, so the Wolves waived him in June before the full guarantee kicked in, making him an unrestricted free agent. He subsequently received a camp invite from the Hawks.