LaMarcus Aldridge

Spurs Shopping Mills, Aldridge, DeRozan?

As we detailed on Wednesday, there has been increasing chatter as of late about the possibility that the Spurs will have an active offseason. Addressing that possibility within his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports that San Antonio is shopping point guard Patty Mills and is also “looking to unload” veterans LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.

All three players are entering contract years in 2020/21, with Mills set to earn $13.3MM, Aldridge to make $24MM, and DeRozan on the books for $27.7MM.

According to O’Connor, the Bucks and Sixers are among the teams that have expressed interest in Mills. If the Spurs were to make a deal with Philadelphia, Josh Richardson would likely head to San Antonio in the swap, O’Connor notes.

As for Aldridge and DeRozan, O’Connor confirms that there is buzz – first reported by ESPN’s Zach Lowe – about the possibility of the Warriors pursuing Aldridge in a deal that would involve the No. 2 pick in the draft. It’s not clear exactly what such a trade would look like, but Andrew Wiggins would presumably have to be included for salary-matching purposes.

Meanwhile, O’Connor has also heard that the Lakers have some interest in acquiring DeRozan, suggesting that Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma would be part of a hypothetical deal. In order to match DeRozan’s $27.7MM cap hit, the Lakers would have to add a few million more dollars to that package.

The Spurs typically don’t make major splashes on the trade market unless their hand is forced, as in the case of 2018’s Kawhi Leonard blockbuster. However, with virtually all of their veteran players – including Rudy Gay – expected to be on expiring contracts next season, the team could have some interesting options available as it looks to pivot to building around its younger generation of players.

Hawks Rumors: Holiday, No. 6 Pick, Haliburton, Okongwu

Following up on Wednesday’s report linking the Hawks to Jrue Holiday, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explains in further detail why he’s hearing that Atlanta currently isn’t a probable landing spot for the Pelicans guard.

According to Kirschner, there’s a belief that if Atlanta pursued Holiday, it would take the No. 6 overall pick and two young players. The Hawks aren’t interested in giving up that substantial a package for a 30-year-old on an expiring contract, even if Holiday would be a great fit next to Trae Young in the backcourt.

The Hawks could still be involved in a three-team deal where Holiday goes to another team, and could even emerge as a viable landing spot for Holiday if the Pelicans’ asking price drops, says Kirschner. However, a trade that sees the club giving up two young players isn’t being considered.

Here’s more on the Hawks from Kirschner:

  • Kirschner also addressed trade rumors related to the No. 6 pick, writing that if the draft were today, Atlanta would be prepared to make that selection rather than moving it. He also clarifies that the rumored Timberwolves proposal for the No. 6 pick – which includes the No. 17 pick and Jarrett Culver – is an offer Minnesota has put on the table for multiple teams.
  • Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, and Onyeka Okongwu look like the Hawks’ most likely targets if the club remains at No. 6, though Avdija may be off the board by then, Kirschner writes. If Haliburton and Okongwu are available, Kirschner thinks Atlanta would probably lean toward the former Iowa State guard.
  • Kirschner wonders if the Spurs, who own the No. 11 pick, might be a potential trade partner for Atlanta. Kirschner believes the Hawks would be interested in moving down if they could acquire a young player like Derrick White or Dejounte Murray, though I’m skeptical San Antonio would give up either player to move up five spots. Because Atlanta would prefer a young player whose timeline matches up with the current core, veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are probably unlikely targets, Kirschner adds.

Warriors Rumors: No. 2 Pick, Wiseman, Tax, Aldridge

The Warriors‘ No. 2 pick is “turning into a circus,” according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who suggests that the team has put out multiple smokescreens while simultaneously engaging in some seemingly genuine internal debate about the choice.

Just days after The San Francisco Chronicle suggested Golden State would likely draft Anthony Edwards if he’s on the board at No. 2 (and if the Dubs keep the pick), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link) provides a conflicting perspective. Appearing on The Jump on Monday, Windhorst said he keeps hearing that James Wiseman will be the Warriors’ guy if they keep their pick and he’s still available.

It has been virtually impossible to tell which way the Warriors are leaning, given all the rumors out there, but Hollinger suspects the club will ultimately keep the pick and select Wiseman with it. As the former Grizzlies executive argues, Wiseman helps Golden State most in the short term and would have the most trade value later.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • The Warriors will benefit from the tweak the NBA has made to luxury tax penalties for the 2020/21 season, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. The penalties for taxpaying teams will be reduced by the same percentage as a basketball related income (BRI) decrease, which means that if the league falls 25% short of its BRI projection, Golden State’s tax bill would be trimmed by 25%.
  • Some rival teams are already annoyed by the Warriors benefiting from another luxury tax anomaly, tweets ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The club, of course, was able to sign Kevin Durant in 2016 due to an unprecedented cap increase that summer.
  • Now that the Warriors are in position to receive a bit of a break on their 2021 tax bill, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area argues that the team should be more inclined to make use its $17MM trade exception to upgrade its roster around Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
  • On a recent episode of his Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said he heard from someone within the league that there’s been buzz about a potential trade involving the Warriors’ No. 2 pick, LaMarcus Aldridge, and the Spurs‘ No. 11 pick (hat tip to HoopsHype). Lowe sounded skeptical about that possibility, and I share that skepticism. But if there’s anything to it, Andrew Wiggins would presumably have to be involved for salary-matching purposes, since Aldridge’s 2020/21 salary ($24MM) won’t fit in Golden State’s trade exception.

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Mavericks, Benson, Aldridge

Pelicans All-Star forward Brandon Ingram, recently crowned the Most Improved Player for the 2019/20 season, made significant strides this season after his trade from the Lakers, per William Guillory of The Athletic.

Ingram specifically credits the time he logged watching game tape, both of himself with the Lakers and of the Pelicans’ offense, with his performative improvement. “When I wasn’t on the court, I just had to visualize things,” Ingram said during a media Zoom conversation Monday. “I had to watch film … It helped me out.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Following an exciting 2019/20 campaign that ended in a 4-2 loss to the Clippers, Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News takes a look at the Mavericks‘ roster. Caplan assesses player performance this season and projects how players will fare next year, looking at everyone from All-Star Luka Doncic to crucial veteran role player Trey Burke.
  • After testing positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Pelicans (and Saints) owner Gayle Benson has been cleared to return to team activities by doctors, per Jeff Duncan of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • The Spurs apparently tried to shop big man LaMarcus Aldridge at this season’s trade deadline, though potential trade partners balked at San Antonio’s requested return haul, as we previously reported.

Spurs Rumors: Popovich, Roster, Aldridge, DeRozan

As rumors continue to swirl about the possibility that the Nets will make a run at longtime San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich, Spurs CEO R.C. Buford said that his team is operating under the assumption that Popovich will be returning for the 2020/21 season, writes Jabari Young of CNBC.com.

“I don’t know if he’s told (Spurs general manager) Brian (Wright) any differently,” Buford said. “Pop’s shown nothing other than how we’re going to build our team for next year.”

Popovich is easily the NBA’s current longest-tenured head coach and seems likely to return to the Spurs for at least one more year. However, he’s also the league’s oldest coach at age 71, so the club can’t count on him to remain in his current role indefinitely. Still, Buford is confident that Popovich’s influence will linger even after he eventually leaves the franchise.

“Pop’s vision will be in play long after his presence,” Buford said, per Young. “That doesn’t mean it’ll be him in there making those decisions, but we’ve all learned together, and you’re not going to step away from a values-based, team-building aspect that focuses on culture and coming to work every day and working on it.”

Here’s more from Young on the Spurs:

  • Asked about the Spurs’ roster direction, Wright expressed that he likes the team’s mix of veterans and younger players, while Buford said San Antonio will continue to address its roster “optimistically and opportunistically,” according to Young. “I think having the ability to develop young talent and flexibility to be opportunistic is going to be what we’re going to continue to do,” Buford said.
  • According to Young, the Spurs were rumored to be shopping LaMarcus Aldridge near this season’s trade deadline, but rival executives believe the club’s asking price was too high. “(The Spurs) overplayed their hand thinking they were supposed to get some giant package for him,” one NBA executive told CNBC.
  • Within Young’s article on the Spurs, he observes that DeMar DeRozan will likely decide to pick up his 2020/21 player option. While that sounds more like informed speculation than a firm report, it’s still worth noting, since Young suggested during the winter that DeRozan may be unhappy in San Antonio and another report around the same time indicated he’d likely opt out if he’s not extended. That was before the coronavirus pandemic changed the NBA landscape, however.

Western Notes: Holiday, Duncan, Len, Hield, Schiller

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday announced today during an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump that he and his wife Lauren will be putting his remaining game checks toward the Jrue and Lauren Social Justice Impact Fund, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes.

The aim of the social justice fund will be to help communities in New Orleans, Indianapolis, and the Los Angeles area, according to Lopez. Holiday plays in New Orleans, his brothers Aaron Holiday and Justin Holiday play in Indiana, and the Holiday family is from the L.A. area.

“We want to make an impact,” Holiday told ESPN. “God has blessed us with so much. We know a couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both. To be able to give away our money to help further this movement and Black-owned businesses that have taken a hit in COVID-19, to us, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity.”

Lopez suggests that Holiday’s remaining game checks could be worth up to $5.3MM — that estimate seems a little high based on my calculations, but considering the veteran guard has a 2019/20 salary of $26MM+, his donations will be substantial.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Spurs assistant coach Tim Duncan won’t be with the team in Orlando, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, who tweets that Duncan is staying in San Antonio to help oversee LaMarcus Aldridge‘s rehab from shoulder surgery.
  • Like Harrison Barnes, center Alex Len – who recently contracted COVID-19 – isn’t yet with the Kings at the Walt Disney World campus, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “We have to prepare as if we’re not going to have either one of those guys,” head coach Luke Walton said of Barnes and Len. “And that’s just getting ready for what worst-case scenario would be. And there’s a reality that might be it. So our mindset is we prep that we’re not going to have them with us, and we’re hopeful that they rejoin us.”
  • Within the same story, McMenamin passes along Buddy Hield‘s comments on his experience with the coronavirus. The Kings sharpshooter said his symptoms were mild and that the virus resulted in just “a little head cold” and “chills one night.”
  • G League Coach of the Year Martin Schiller, who had been the head coach of the Jazz‘ NBAGL affiliate, is leaving the Salt Lake City Stars to coach Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, as Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details.

Spurs’ Aldridge To Miss Rest Of Season With Shoulder Injury

Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge has undergone a surgical procedure on his right shoulder and will miss the remainder of the 2019/20 season, the club announced today in a press release.

According to the Spurs, Aldridge underwent an arthroscopic subacromial decompression and rotator cuff debridement. San Antonio’s announcement indicates that the 34-year-old had the procedure on April 24, so it sounds as if the team has known for the last month-and-a-half that he’ll be sidelined until next season.

Aldridge initially injured his shoulder on February 21. After suiting up for the Spurs’ next game on February 23, he missed six contests and returned to action on March 10 for the club’s last game before the season was suspended.

With Aldridge on the shelf until the start of training camp in 2020/21, the Spurs will be an even longer shot for the No. 8 seed in the West this summer. Currently, the team sits four games back of Memphis, but would have to pass Sacramento, New Orleans, and Portland in the standings in order to become the team that forces a play-in tournament with the Grizzlies. If the Spurs don’t make the postseason, their 22-year playoff streak will come to an end.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the the NBA’s proposed roster rules for the restart would allow San Antonio to sign an injury replacement for Aldridge. That player would had to have played in the NBA or G League this season.

As for Aldridge’s future, he’s under contract with the Spurs for one more season, with a $24MM cap hit for 2020/21. He’d become an unrestricted free agent in 2021 if he’s not extended before then.

The seven-time All-Star remained productive for San Antonio in 2019/20, averaging 18.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 1.6 BPG with a .493/.389/.827 shooting line in 53 games (33.1 MPG).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Aldridge, Finley, Rockets, Cash

Asked earlier this week by a fan which former teammate he’d like to add to the Trail Blazers‘ current roster, Damian Lillard named Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge. That tweet – sent from Portland’s official Twitter account – was soon deleted, but not before Aldridge replied to it with an eyeballs emoji.

Speaking to Michael C. Wright of NBA.com, Aldridge downplayed the significance of his response, but acknowledged that he wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to the idea of returning to Portland and finishing his career with the Trail Blazers. He also diplomatically didn’t rule out the idea of remaining with the Spurs for the remainder of his career.

“I think either one would be fine with me. I feel like I’ve made some good memories in San Antonio. I feel like I’m in a really good family in San Antonio. They understand me. I understand them. So, I like that,” Aldridge said. “I feel I have a lot of history in Portland. So, going back there to finish would be fine also. I’m perfectly fine with finishing my career in San Antonio riding it out until my next chapter, or if things have to change there, and if (the Spurs) decide to go young, then I wouldn’t mind going to (the Trail Blazers).”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Appearing on the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 The Score in Chicago, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was evasive when asked whether the Bulls have asked to interview Michael Finley for a front office position. However, he said he’d grant Chicago permission to speak to Finley if asked. Finley was identified last week as a potential candidate for the Bulls’ GM opening.
  • As Kelly Iko of The Athletic details, the Rockets only played 14 games after trading away Clint Capela before this year’s trade deadline. That small sample size could be problematic, especially if the season doesn’t resume, since the Rockets will have to make offseason decisions based on whether or not they feel the center-less lineup is a viable approach going forward.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic examines the role that Pelicans vice president of basketball operations Swin Cash has played in her first year with the franchise and the impact she has had on the team’s young players.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Aldridge, Nuggets, Nader

When Damian Lillard took over the Trail Blazers‘ Twitter account on Monday evening for a Q&A with fans, most of the questions and his responses were fairly innocuous. However, one of Lillard’s answers had to be deleted after the fact.

As Nico Martinez of Fadeaway World details (hat tip to NBC Sports), when asked which former teammate he’d like to have on the current Trail Blazers roster, Lillard replied, “I’d add LaMarcus (Aldridge).”

That sort of comment wouldn’t be a big deal if Lillard said it during a Zoom or Instagram Live session, but the NBA may not take kindly to him making it on the Trail Blazers’ official Twitter account. The league introduced new anti-tampering measures last year and Lillard’s tweet – by way of the Blazers’ account – arguably violates those rules.

Although the tweet has since been removed, it’s sure to fuel speculation about an eventual reunion between the Trail Blazers and Aldridge, which has been a topic of discussion multiple times in recent years. For what it’s worth, Aldridge himself responded to Lillard’s tweet with an eyes emoji.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Once it became clear that Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas wanted the Bulls‘ head of basketball operations job, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly organized mock interview sessions to help him make a good impression in his actual meeting, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “It was amazing,” said Karnisovas, who was officially hired by Chicago on Monday. “It’s a prep, but that’s what I’m all about. I like to be all prepared. We prepared for all the questions and we covered all the bases. He helped me out.”
  • Nick Kosmider and John Hollinger of The Athetic take an in-depth look at the state of the Nuggets, examining what steps are necessary to turn Denver from a strong playoff team into a legitimate title contender.
  • In his third NBA season and second with the Thunder, Abdel Nader improved his shooting efficiency and made major strides on the defensive end, writes Logan Meyer of Daily Thunder. Oklahoma City is in position to keep Nader for one more year before he reaches free agency — he has a minimum-salary team option for 2020/21.

Western Notes: Johnson, LeBron, Aldridge, DeRozan

Cameron Johnson, who was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2019 draft, should see an increased role next season in Phoenix, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic contends. The Suns rookie had made 91 three-pointers in 49 games and his progression may allow the franchise to focus on other position as it looks to upgrade the roster this summer.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Lakers star LeBron James is being sued by a photographer for posting content on his social media pages without permission, as I detailed on Heavy.com. The photojournalist captured a picture of James dunking on Meyers Leonard earlier in the season.
  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News examines LaMarcus Aldridge‘s season and wonders if the 34-year-old big man has a lengthy future with the Spurs. Aldridge has one year and $24MM left on his deal after this season.
  • DeMar DeRozan‘s future with the Spurs isn’t certain either, as McDonald writes in a separate piece. The shooting guard is expected to decline his player option for next season and seek a long-term contract—either with San Antonio or another club.