What is the trade value of LaMarcus Aldridge? We asked a bunch of NBA executives

Even after their surprisingly dominant victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, the San Antonio Spurs still sit at 7-13, have a -2.4 net rating (good for 20th in the league) and boast the dubious distinction of being the first Gregg Popovich-led team ever to lose eight games in a row.

The team’s horrid start has led many around the league to wonder if San Antonio could be open for business as the season progresses, particularly if they don’t turn things around soon. And one of the players consistently mentioned as a potential trade target is seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.

As one league executive told HoopsHype: “I think it’s still early in the season, but the West is really tough [so you never know when it comes to trades]. I don’t think you can ever count out Gregg Popovich. I think they will make these decisions closer to the February trade deadline. There are some issues with LaMarcus: Is he a center now? Can he play with a fast-paced team? Also, matching the salary in a trade for LaMarcus or DeMar could be tough.”

Aldridge has two years and $50 million left on his contract. On the season, he’s averaging 18.9 points, 6.7 rebounds (the second-lowest total of his career), 2.5 assists and 1.8 blocks (a career-high) per game on 51.7/35.5/83.3 shooting splits. What’s more, he ranks 33rd in Value Over Replacement Player (+0.6) and 35th in Win Shares (+1.8), meaning that two valued catch-all metrics rate him higher than the average fan might.

Overall, those are numbers that could sway a contender into thinking Aldridge could be the missing piece needed to make a run. The best way to put it might be: If Aldridge is your best player, as is clearly the case in San Antonio, your team is going to have trouble on most nights. But as a secondary or even tertiary piece, there’s a chance he could be a legitimate difference-maker.

As far as teams that could pop up as potential Aldridge suitors, HoopsHype asked various NBA executives for their thoughts on the matter, and one of the first landing spots that was mentioned was a familiar team for the big man: “The Portland Trail Blazers could make sense,” a Western Conference exec told us. “Would Portland give up Hassan Whiteside plus Zach Collins or a pick?”

Portland did start the season off quite slowly, but after the addition of Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging 17.7 points and shooting 37 percent from three for the Blazers and now mans the 4-spot for them while on a minimum contract, they might be less inclined to make the potentially expensive move for Aldridge since they’re getting so much value out of Anthony’s deal. Plus, losing Whiteside’s defensive prowess and switching to a starting frontcourt of Anthony and Aldridge would force the Blazers to score 125-plus points per game in order to win, since it would be one of the weaker defensive 4-5 combinations in the league.

Portland wasn’t the only team mentioned for Aldridge. Another one that came up was the Denver Nuggets, who are 13-4 and aren’t even playing their best basketball yet.

“Maybe Denver could be a destination for Aldridge,” a Western Conference executive mentioned to HoopsHype. “If they think he can play the 4, it could make sense. He probably can’t play the 4 at this stage, but I don’t know how other front offices feel. Malik Beasley and Mason Plumlee for LaMarcus is one possible trade scenario.”

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Philani Mukwakwami

FOUNDER

Sports are a hobby horse of mine, what happens in-between the lines is just as thrilling as what happens outside of them.