Blazers Face The Aldridge Question

It’s getting late early in Portland.

Of course, the shadows can’t get much longer and the outlook much bleaker than when you’ve become the first team all season to lose to the Wizards.

Still, these things happen. If it were a one-game pratfall, it would be easier for the Trail Blazers to move on up the road and try to work out their frustrations on the soon-to-be-Rondo-less Celtics.

But the trouble is that 15 games into this season, it is already beginning to look a lot like last season. And the one before. And the one before.

“Inexcusable,” is the way guard Wesley Matthews described the loss at Washington and nobody was really sure if he was talking about the way the Blazers shot the ball, rebounded, defended or got off the bus.

Intolerable for their fans is the knowledge that over the past decade, the Blazers have done more rebuilding than FEMA and still have little to show for it. They have the longest current Western Conference drought without winning a playoff series (13 seasons and counting) and are giving little indication that it’s about to end. Enthusiasm for new coach Terry Stotts’ up-tempo, move-the-ball offense is leaking like air from a flat tire.

All of which quickly brings up the question of what to do with LaMarcus Aldridge?

The Blazers official stance is: nothing. That’s what general manager Neil Olshey told Aldridge in an October meeting, asking for patience and promising that the power forward would not be traded.

But how wise is that from both sides?

Aldridge is 27 going on who knows what. He’s previously had a heart condition, was sidelined last season by a hip injury and is now bothered an achy back, probably from having to carry so much of the load. He’s averaging a team-high 38.2 minutes per game and a career-low shooting percentage of 43.9.

On one hand the Blazers need their best player on the floor for his lion’s share of time in order to even dream of competing for one of the lower rung spots on the playoff ladder. But if this is a team that isn’t really going anywhere until rookies Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard develop, Nicolas Batum gets a real clue and then significant free agent additions are made next summer, does it make sense to wear Aldridge out?

The Blazers, with Greg Oden and Brandon Roy as cautionary tales in their recent past, are quite familiar with players that simply break down physically. If it’s going to take Olshey’s two-year window to get Aldridge the help he needs, what state will he be in physically, not to mention mentally? Might there come a time, even this season, when L.A. is ready to flee to L.A. or OKC or any other playoff contender with a need for the kind of firepower he brings? In this NBA era that we live, players are far less likely to commit themselves to a franchise for an entire career. How much longer before those around him, or Aldridge himself, conclude it’s time to start inching him toward the door?

If you’re the Blazers and have seen Aldridge’s game deteriorate into mostly jumpers and fadeaways this season, it could be easy to conclude that he’s past the point — if he ever was — of being a No. 1 option on a championship contender. If you’re already thinking about the next remodeling of the roster, wouldn’t it make sense to move the process along with a deal that could bring in young talent to grow at the same pace with Lillard, Leonard and Batum?

Of course, the trade deadline isn’t till February. But it’s already gotten late early in Portland.

42 Comments

  1. TS says:

    You folks need to chill. Just because the Blazers are in a bit of a losing funk, don’t mean ya’ll can try and start rumors about the Blazers trading LaMarcus Aldridge. One of the reasons why the Blazers sell out all their home games, and can beat teams like the Lakers, is because we have LaMarcus Aldridge.

    Hey… I don’t wanna hear it… go find your own LaMarcus Aldridge!!

  2. fran, let me say this, YOU ARE CRAZY!! even just for thinking about a possiblity of trading DA’s cousin… you just cant think of anything to write, do you? y dont u just write a love story?? look, lamarcus aldridge has been the catalyst for the blazers, he’s their franchise player! no other player on that team can take that leadership role aside from lamarcus. his leadership in portland is at the level of lebron in cleveland (or in miami), kobe prior gasol (and post shaq), pierce prior allen, garnett and rondo, rose in chicago, love in minnesota, chris paul in new orleans (or in la). also, most teams regress when losing key players. remember the blazers 2 seasons ago when they lost most of their key players to injuries? they still made it a tough series against the suns, with just lamarcus aldridge. he’s been robbed as an allstar twice, he should’ve been an allstar a long time ago! FOR YOU TO THINK OF THE POSSIBILITY OF TRADING LAMARCUS IS LIKE THINKING ABOUT TRADING KOBE, OR LEBRON, OR DURANT, OR ROSE, OR LOVE, OR DUNCAN, OR NOWITSKI!! THATS JUST CRAZY FRAN!!

  3. Zac says:

    Aldridge is a top 3 power forward in the legue and it would take a hell of an offer for Portland to part with him

  4. genius says:

    POR to SA: LaMarcus Aldridge
    SA to POR: Stephen Jackson + DeJuan Blair + Gary Neal

  5. Mello says:

    If the Blazers hadn’t used their amnesty clause on Brandon Roy, I ‘d say trade LA back to the team that originally drafted him, the Chicago Bulls for Carlos Boozer and two future 1st round picks and then amnesty Boozer after the season for cap space to go after Tyreke Evans, Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Al Jefferson or even Andrew Bynum this summer.

  6. Matt says:

    Typical Fran article, what a Idiot lmao.

  7. jmac says:

    Yes, trade a centerpiece player when you finally acquire a franchise pg and have good pieces to build around. How smart…..

  8. ballinnnnnbgbujbrv says:

    They need a bench….

  9. Les says:

    The problem is the bench not the core of the starters. If Portland had a bench that scored more than 10 points a game
    then the starters would get more rest. They give up leads and burn there starters out to get back in the game.
    Lillard is going to be a great point guard for they have 4 starters scoring in double figures now and he needs to
    score more when he plays with the bench. If they could get a couple of bench players that could give them 10 points
    a game they would have won 4 more games. They will be fine next year after they get rid of some of there expiring
    contracts and bring in some bench talent. This will also give there 5 rookies time to develop. LA knows that this is a
    rebuilding year with money to spend next year. There core is solid.

  10. booem48 says:

    trade him to the cavs with kyrie lol

  11. wuffe says:

    And Lenard is a project like Drummond ..1 to 2 years away.

  12. wuffe says:

    I don’t see aldridge getting traded. He’s your best player. They should have picked up Dalembert for a song to clog up the middle and shifted Aldridge to PF. Portland is a good team. However, I don’t know what type of coach Stotts is but they would benefit from an all around defensive minded coach like a Woodson that would use his P.G. as a distributor and the players are better utilized.

  13. Matt says:

    Trade him for draft picks

  14. Cami987 says:

    don’t trade. they need him.

  15. Hoover says:

    If they were to trade him they should talk to OKC about a Lamb, PJIII, Perkins & 2 1st rounders. Keep a veteran up front at a discounted rate, give them a young promising player at each position:

    PG Lilliar
    SG Lamb
    SF Batum
    PF PJ III
    C Leonard

    Then they would also have 2 extra 1st rounders. If they could get that Toronto pick this would be slam dunk. 2 lotto picks this year and a late 1st rounder…

  16. kelceymccray says:

    this team needs to win now no excuses need another big man to with aldrige hickson and batum. no more rebuilding this team you need to make the playoffs while they going threw developing players and they need have another role player to come off the bench.

  17. RJ says:

    Trade him for Monta Ellis / and any Forward on the Bucks

  18. Realistic says:

    Besides from the biased Celtics fans making stupid excuses for Rondo, this is getting annoying with the Lakers fans thinking they can buy or trade for anybody without consideration that other GMs aren’t stupid.

  19. black24mamba says:

    trade super soft pau gasol for aldridge,,,,

  20. Devon says:

    how about rather than alderage they trade batum for gallinari and kusta kufos

  21. Nathan says:

    Him to Lakers is GAY!!! they dont need him….He needs to go to Knicks for Amare and thats final!!! Aldridge can do well with Anthony!

  22. Fefe (Nets) says:

    Honestly, I’m amazed by the statement saying that ALDRIDGE IS A DECLINING PLAYER!!!!!

    He was one of the best players the past couple of years, in the entired NBA! Ok, he has some health issues, and so what??? We’re not even 20 games into the season. Yes, Portland should keep an eye on him, but talking about trading your best player after what he did the past seasons and after just the start of the season is too early.

  23. Error says:

    damian lillard missed lot of shot! thats why they lost

  24. John says:

    Im A Die Hard Lakers Fan & The Last Thing We Need Is Another Overpaid Declining Player Sorry Portland Friends Find Somewhere Else To Dump Your Garbage And Re-Build

    • Mr. Perfect says:

      That is not nice comment at all.. you can disagree all you want but never call someone a garbage..

    • Liam says:

      Why the hate towards us? We aren’t trying to offload him, we don’t want anything that your team offers, and we certainly don’t want people like you slagging off our team. You’re going to say that about us and then call us your ‘Portland friends’? You’re no friend to us. P.S Call us rubbish all you like, did we not beat you in the first game this season?

  25. Lee says:

    Aldridge would be pointless at the lakers, hes just a younger version of Pau and Pau doesnt work in Dantonis system so why would this be good for us?
    The idea of josh Smooth however would be nice… Can shoot 3s if he needs to and is one of the best all round forwards along with Gerald wallace

    If Portland could get a veteran forward who could still do a job, with either a couple of picks or a decent couple of bench players, that way it will let mathews lillard and batum run the show and JJ hickson is showing he can score where needed so it may do the blazers a favour…

    • KiddinMe says:

      Wow did you just say Jsmoove and Gerald Wallace are the top overall forwards?!?! Um… did you forget about the reigning MVP or perhaps the reigning scoring champ? Hell Carmelo? Kevin Love? Please do a bit of research next time. I love LMA as a player and Gerald Wallace as well but C’mon MAN!

  26. Rick says:

    Seriously? LMA for Pau so LAL get younger/better while POR falls further into mediocrity?

    As Charles would say, “Turrible!”

  27. james says:

    trade him to toronto! ahaha

  28. Alessio Laker says:

    Hahaha that’s a joke!!

    Portland ain’t gonna trade him, they must be idiots if they do it.

    I want him in L.A no doubt but that it’s not happenining so get over it.

  29. Andy says:

    Ummm no! That makes no sense. Portland finally has a good starting team and are in good position to acquire some good role players in the off season. Why would they trade the key piece now?

  30. rizla+ says:

    did stern said he needs to be traded to lakers caouse they are not playing like he wanna to

  31. The Spaz says:

    Pure…smh…

  32. Julfikhar says:

    Correct! Trade Him For Lakers!

  33. joey boy says:

    TRADE HIM FOR AMARE STOUDEMIRE and more players…
    like: j.r smith, chris copeland and pablo prigioni…
    then Blazers can sign KENYON MARTIN and CHRIS ANDERSEN…

  34. Pure says:

    Trade him for Pau Gasol!!))