Celtics, These Teams Could Pursue LaMarcus Aldridge

A player who potentially could be of interest to the Celtics has become available.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on Wednesday revealed San Antonio and LaMarcus Aldridge have mutually agreed to part ways. Aldridge either will be dealt by the NBA’s March 25 trade deadline or the Spurs will buy him out.

As league insider Brian Windhorst explained Thursday morning on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” an Aldridge trade won’t be easy to facilitate given his contract situation. But Boston, however, is one of the teams currently capable of dealing for the veteran big man.

“Over the next two weeks, we’re going to hear a lot about power forwards because they’re very desired in the market,” Windhorst said. “We’re also going to hear about the cost of renting players. That’s where LaMarcus Aldridge fits — a power forward who is available for rental. He makes $24 million, it’s a very hard trade to put together. There’s only a few teams that really can do it in a straight-up trade. One of them is the Boston Celtics with a $28 million trade exception. They could do it very easily. The problem is, do they want to use that trade exception on a guy they’ll only have for a couple of months?

“So, if he doesn’t end up getting traded, we could see him get bought out two weeks from now and then you will see a free-for-all trying to get LaMarcus Aldridge. The Lakers could be in that game. The Phoenix Suns, where he almost signed a few years ago could be in that game. Even the Portland Trail Blazers, where he started his career, could be in that game in addition to the Celtics at that point.”

The Celtics using their trade exception — which was obtained through the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade over the offseason — to acquire Aldridge probably would not be a wise move. Aldridge would eat up the majority of the exception, and as Windhorst noted, the seven-time All-Star only would be under team control for the final few months of the season.

It would be a different story if Boston was one piece away from becoming a legitimate NBA Finals contender. But this C’s team has a few other holes, and the addition of Aldridge probably would not yield significant team improvements.

Boston, of course, should pursue Aldridge if he is bought out and free to sign with any team. But by that point, the 35-year-old likely would take his talents to a team with serious championship aspirations.

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