After visiting with multiple teams around the league, forward LaMarcus Aldridge has agreed to a deal with the San Antonio Spurs. Although it won't be official until Thursday, reports are stating that he will sign a four-year maximum contract worth more than $80 million, with an opt-out after the third year.
Aldridge averaged more than 23 points and 10 rebounds in each of the last two seasons as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. He is the only player to do so in back-to-back seasons since his new teammate, Tim Duncan, did so in 2001-02 and 2002-03. The last teammate of Duncan’s to average 20 points per game and 10 rebounds per game was David Robinson, in Duncan’s rookie season in 1997-98.
In terms of real plus-minus, which measures a
player’s impact on his team per 100 possessions, Aldridge is a top-10 NBA player. Among big men, only Duncan and Anthony Davis have had a larger impact over the past two seasons.
Aldridge leaves Portland as one of the most productive players in franchise history. He is the franchise’s leading rebounder (5,434), has recorded the most double-doubles (234) and is second in points (12,562) behind Clyde Drexler.
His shoes will be tough to fill; Aldridge’s PER of 22.8 is tied with Zach Randolph for the third-best by a big man in Trail Blazer history. Bill Walton and Arvydas Sabonis are the only big men who had better single-season PERs.
Aldridge’s game and his fit with the Spurs
He is known for his strong mid-range game, as he led the league last season in mid-range points per game and field goals made and attempted, while shooting 42 percent. His 327 made mid-range shots last season were more than the Houston Rockets made as a team (243).
Duncan has been able to play at a high level despite his age, but the addition of Aldridge will allow the Spurs to rest him more during the regular season to keep him fresh for a postseason run. In games played by Duncan last season without a day of rest, he averaged 12.5 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game in 27 minutes.
Aldridge joins the Spurs at a much different stage in his career (he will be 30 years old on July 19) than Duncan was when he was drafted to the team in 1997. This puts Duncan in a position to pass the torch to Aldridge sooner than David Robinson did after Duncan arrived in 1997.