Time and time again, we have seen full circle moments in the NBA, as players looking for work return to the team where they started their career.
Kevin Garnett heads back to the Twin Cities to rejoin the Timberwolves.
Dwyane Wade returns to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat again.
Now there’s a chance for another a reunion, and it’s in Portland.
Come on, Trail Blazers, make a move for LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge, in his 15th year in the league, recently said he and the San Antonio Spurs had agreed to part ways, thus making Aldridge a prime trade target with the NBA trade deadline arriving today. The seven-time All-Star has reached the tail end of his career, but in his prime of his nine-year run in Portland he was arguably the most underrated big man in the league.
Aldridge entered the league in 2006. Chicago took him with the second overall pick but traded him immediately to Portland for a draft pick and some role players. Aldridge helped the Blazers reach the playoffs six times, posting his best numbers in 2014-15, his final year in Portland, with 23 points and 10 rebounds per game.
But how does he fit with Portland’s current roster?
The Blazers hold the sixth seed in the Western Conference at 25-18. Leading the way is Damian Lillard, one of the most clutch players in the league. With CJ McCollum and company beside Lillard, the Blazers have made the playoffs every season since Aldridge left.
In regard to the front court, the Blazers have Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic out with injuries. Ernes Kanter starts at center, with the Swiss Army knife himself, Robert Covington, playing power forward. Coming off the bench Portland has veteran Carmelo Anthony and young guys Nassir Little and Harry Giles III.
The addition of Aldridge would make an immediate impact on this depth chart.
Covington’s versatility allows him to play small forward, allowing Aldridge to fit in at power forward, with Derrick Jones Jr. coming off the bench. Another option is to have Aldridge come off the bench.
What’s the most vital thing Aldridge can bring to this team? More guidance.
Coming to Portland proved to be a wise decision for Anthony, who has accepted his supporting role. Aldridge will need to do the same, regardless of where he ends up.
He’s average 13 points and four rebounds per game, the lowest since his rookie season. Gone are the days of Aldridge taking on a heavy workload, but his experience can be beneficial for the Blazers’ younger frontcourt players.
Though it seems simple to have Aldridge reunited with the franchise where he played his best basketball, I know player deals in the NBA can be complex. Aldridge might have enough left in the tank that other teams will make a better offer, and seeing him back in a Blazers uniform will have to wait.
But I don’t think a single Portland fan would be anything but excited to see Aldridge don the red and black, competing again at the Moda Center.
Corey Kirk is sports editor for the Baker City Herald.