LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs have mutually agreed to part ways, Gregg Popovich said Wednesday. Aldridge has been with the Spurs since 2015 but was set to become a free agent this offseason. He is averaging only 13.7 points per game, the fewest he’s scored since his rookie season, and only 4.5 rebounds per game, a career-low.
“LaMarcus is not with the team,” Popovich said in a statement. “He’s healthy, in that respect, but we’ve mutually agreed to work out some opportunities for him and that’ll be elsewhere. So, he won’t be with the team moving forward. He’s been a great teammate. There was no problem there. We just think this is a win-win for both LaMarcus and for the club. So, when an opportunity arises, that’ll be up to management, his agent, you know, sort of thing. We’ll all move forward.”
“He’s been a great teammate. He’s done everything we’ve asked. And at this point, we’d just like to something that will work for him as much as for our club, because he deserves that.”
Aldridge nearly left the Spurs after the 2016-17 season. He asked for a trade, but eventually settled his differences with Popovich and ultimately signed a contract extension in San Antonio. This time, however, it seems as though his time with the Spurs really is up.
Lineups featuring Aldridge have struggled this season. The Spurs have been 8.7 points per 100 possessions better with him on the bench as their surprising success has been driven largely by their bench lineups. The Spurs entered the All-Star break with an 18-14 record and the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference standings.
The Spurs are engaged in trade talks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but it is unclear who the suitors are or what the Spurs might ask for in return. Given his declining production, the price will likely be minimal. That the Spurs are willing to let him go despite having a genuine chance at making the postseason is not encouraging.
But Aldridge’s primary skill is shooting, and shooting tends to age well. If Aldridge can find the right support system moving forward, he might still be able to help a contender. Whoever acquires him is banking on its ability to protect him defensively and take advantage of that shooting moving forward.