LaMarcus Aldridge's NBA career came to an abrupt end in April after the front-court star suffered from heart issues.
However, the seven-time All-Star recently went through medical evaluations that may have opened the door to an NBA return for the 2021-22 season. There still remain some crucial steps ahead as Aldridge would also need the medical staff on the team he joins to clear him to play.
If he's able to return to basketball, here are five teams that should ink him to a contract.
Portland Trail Blazers
Might as well get this destination out of the way as it would present Aldridge the homecoming to the franchise that drafted him.
He still possesses a strong bond with Damian Lillard after the years the two spent together leading the team to the playoffs. The 36-year-old is no longer the player he once was, but he would certainly play a significant factor in the Blazers' front court.
Throughout the 2021 NBA Finals, it became increasingly evident the Suns need to bulk up in the frontcourt.
Phoenix found tremendous success behind its small-ball lineups, but when push came to shove the team struggled defending against the Milwaukee Bucks’ size. With teams such as the Lakers and Denver Nuggets possessing a dominant big man, Aldridge would certainly fit the bill of helping those efforts.
Yes, adding JaVale McGee in free agency is a much-needed move, but Aldridge is a dependable offensive talent who the Suns could rely on.
The Heat are actively pushing to construct a more formidable team that can vie for an NBA title.
Miami began free agency with the big-splash sign-and-trade move to acquire Kyle Lowry on a three-year, $90 million deal. Aldridge would help fortify the frontcourt with his scoring prowess and ability to stretch the floor.
Aldridge would be a key asset off the bench that the Heat can lean on to help guide the second unit. His addition would push Miami a step closer to competing for a championship.
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles has spent free agency adding several proven players on veteran’s minimum contracts. Aldridge fits that billing and the team expressed interest in signing him after his contract buyout last season.
The Lakers would welcome him to a front court that could use a player who can play either the power forward and center position. Aldridge can help offset some of the offensive burden on Davis’ shoulders while maintaining size in the paint on both ends of the court.
Beyond that, the Lakers have the allure of giving Aldridge the chance to win his first NBA title.
The Nets remain a reasonable landing spot for Alridge, given the team previously signed him last season after his contract buyout.
The former All-Star quickly fit into the fold as a key frontcourt piece for the Nets. His presence brought another proven scorer that Brooklyn can depend on nightly. Although it was a brief stint, Aldridge provided stable play off the bench, averaging 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds on 52.1% shooting from the floor in 26.0 minutes per contest in five games played.
It included Aldridge notching double-digit scoring four times, topped by a 22-point performance. If he’s given the green light to return, the Nets are the frontrunners to secure his services.
Will the Nets still be interested in Aldridge after signing Blake Griffin to an extension? We'll see.
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