LaMarcus Aldridge may be looking at his last chance to prove he can help the Spurs win before the team decides to move in a different direction, writes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News. Aldridge is expected to return to the lineup tonight after missing the past six games with a sore right hip. He’s officially listed as questionable, but the Spurs need him after losing half their rotation to health and safety protocols.
Finger notes that the team was playing its best basketball last week with Aldridge on the sidelines. A younger, faster lineup strung together six straight wins and pushed San Antonio into fifth place in the Western Conference.
Aldridge is in his sixth year with the Spurs and has helped the team remain a yearly playoff contender after the championship core retired. He remains somewhat productive at age 35, averaging 14.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18 games this season, but will be a free agent this summer and may not have a future in San Antonio even if he remains with the team past the trade deadline.
There’s more on the Spurs:
- DeMar DeRozan‘s agent, Aaron Goodwin, is upset that his client wasn’t part of the All-Star reserves that were announced Tuesday despite being the leading scorer and play-maker on a top-five seed in the West. DeRozan has numbers worthy of All-Star consideration, averaging 19.8 points. 5.0 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 25 games. “I’d love to see the coaches’ votes,” Goodwin said. “At some point, the winning has got to matter.”
- The Spurs are encouraging DeRozan to take as much time as he needs with his family after his father died last week, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. DeRozan missed two games in January to spend time with his father, and teammates have praised his ability to stay focused on basketball during a time of crisis. “It’s a difficult situation,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “But I’ve been in touch with him. He is a very mature, kind man, and he is doing what he needs to do with his family right now.”
- Rookie guard Tre Jones, who led the G League in assists before being recalled this week, has impressed his teammates with his feel for the game, Orsborn adds in the same story. “He has a huge basketball IQ and understands the flow and what’s needed at times, when to score, when to pass, when to set up the team and get other people involved,” Patty Mills said. Jones saw limited playing time in nine games with the Spurs before the G League assignment.