Elhassan: Trail Blazers Shouldn't Trade LaMarcus Aldridge
Amin Elhassan over at ESPN.com answered five "burning questions" about the Northwest Division
today, one of which being whether the Trail Blazers should trade all-star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Elhassan argues that there are instances in which it makes sense to trade a player of Aldridge's caliber, but he doesn't think that's the case in Portland ...
4. Should the Portland Trail Blazers shop LaMarcus Aldridge?
The short answer is no. Teams seek to trade star-caliber players for a handful of reasons: Either you think you can get someone better; there isn't a good fit basketball-wise (such as multiple talents at the same position); the player in question is much older than the rest of the team (i.e. by the time the team is in its prime contention window, the star will have fallen back to earth); or the team is facing a catastrophic salary-cap scenario (or overextended pick obligations) that basically demands the franchise move a marketable asset in return for flexibility to improve the team.
In Portland's case, none of these issues are applicable. Trading Aldridge would not yield a frontcourt talent of equal or better value. He still fits a tremendous need as an All-Star caliber scoring big alongside versatile wing Nic Batum and sophomore sensation point guard Damian Lillard; he's just a few years older than his teammates; and the Blazers' cap situation is flexible for the time being, while they owe only one future first-round pick (protected).
Having said that, Aldridge could still stand to make improvements to his game to better serve Portland. His shot selection has drifted farther and farther from the basket in each subsequent year, and while it's nice to have that offensive versatility out of the power forward position, Aldridge needs to remember what makes him special is his ability to score in the post.
The idea of trading Aldridge has never been about talent. The question is whether he'll be looking for greener pastures if he chooses to hit the free agent market in a few years. And ElHassan is right that they Portland would be very unlikely to get back a player as good, let alone better, than Aldridge.
Aldridge has reportedly been satisfied with the moves the Neil Olshey has executed this offseason, specially trading for Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson
and signing Mo Williams
. Aldridge also tweeted that Portland's 2013 draft picks were "solid."
If Aldridge is truly happy with the changes to Portland's roster, there's no reason to even consider trading him, especially not for the likes of David Lee
, DeMarcus Cousins
or a grab bag of Chicago Bulls