Impact Players: LaMarcus Aldridge

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Welcome to a new series I’ve titled “Impact Players.” The idea of this series is to discuss the impact each player on the team. I’ll be doing one for each player on the roster (which can be found here). We’ll kick it off with LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge, the two-time All Star power forward, had a decent year last season, recording averages of 21.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He was one of only two players in the entire league to record at least 20 points and 8 rebounds, joining season and NBA Finals MVP LeBron James (Miami Heat, small forward). If you amend those requirements to 9 rebounds, he is the only player to do so.

Aldridge has been a key player for the Blazers over the last three seasons. When Brandon Roy left the team, opening up the position of “team leader,” Aldridge grabbed it. He’s been solid and clutch in a few games, most notably against his hometown team, the Dallas Mavericks.

In the 2011-2012 season, he defeated the Mavericks on the road, by way of a fade away buzzer beater in overtime:

In the 2012-2013 season, he did a very similar thing, leading a Blazers comeback, in which at one point they had trailed by 21 points. Below are his two clutch shots, as well as a game recap.

During the past two or three months, however, rumors have surfaced about Aldridge demanding a trade. He has taken to Twitter on multiple occasions to refute these rumors, and he isn’t happy with the people who started the rumors, either.

While nobody is sure if he has formally demanded a trade, I’m going to assume he hasn’t, just for the sake of what I’m about to say.

To keep Aldridge happy, Olshey has to make moves that make the team better. He can’t make moves just for the sake of doing it. Aldridge obviously wants to play for a contender, and that’s completely understandable. That’s why Olshey needs to prove to Aldridge that the team is up and coming, will make the playoffs, and content for a championship in the short-term future.

While we assume Aldridge hasn’t demanded a trade, we have to be careful. Aldridge has two years left on his contract, ending at the end of the 2014-2015 season. While Aldridge has no leverage over the team now, that could change in the matter of a single year. Next summer, he will have the leverage, and that is not what we want.

If we want to move him, we have to do so either during the 2013-2014 season or during the next offseason. We can’t let him walk away as a free agent and get nothing in return. That is just how valuable he is to the team.

I would be fine with trading Aldridge, but it has to be for the right price. He is too valuable to the team to lose. I am almost 100% sure that Portland would acquire another elite power forward or center in any hypothetical trade scenario. Not getting one would leave our starting front court crippled.

What do you guys think? How valuable is Aldridge to the team. What do you think about him supposedly being unhappy in Portland? Would you deal him? If so, what would you want in return? Let me know in the comments section below!

Until next time,



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