The chatter has been building for a while, and the Nicolas Batum trade on Wednesday seemed to signal that the LaMarcus Aldridge era with the Portland Trail Blazers was drawing to a close. Sure enough, Erik Gunderson of The Columbian reports that Aldridge has already informed the Blazers that he’s leaving in free agency.
ESPN had earlier reported there was a growing belief that Aldridge was leaving town, and that report was soon updated with a source saying there was a “99.9 percent chance” the power forward was done in Portland.
Aldridge has spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career in Portland, but he only got out of the first round once and is apparently seeking a new beginning. The San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks have long been considered possible suitors for Aldridge, with the Spurs as the favorite despite some serious financial obstacles, but the Los Angeles Lakers are making a push as well. The New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks are also potential destinations.
With Aldridge supposedly on the way out, the Blazers will look to continue to make deals, and they could ultimately try to pursue Kevin Love (who grew up in Oregon) in free agency.