The San Antonio Spurs and veteran power forward / center LaMarcus Aldridge mutually agreed that he will not return to the team, coach Gregg Popovich announced Wednesday night.
The Spurs are engaged on several fronts with possible Aldridge trades and believe they can find a deal, perhaps even next week, and avoid the need to negotiate a contract termination, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
If there is no trade for Aldridge before the March 25 deadline expires and a contract termination comes into play, many of the league’s top teams privately express interest in adding him as a free agent, sources said.
Aldridge, 35, a seven-time All-Star, received permission to “work some opportunities elsewhere,” although he officially remains on the Spurs roster for now. He has an expiring contract with a salary of $ 24 million.
“He’s been a great teammate. No problem,” Popovich said during his virtual media availability before the game. “We just think this is a win-win for both LaMarcus and the club. When an opportunity arises, that will depend on management, their agent and that sort of thing, and we will all move on.
Aldridge missed eight of the Spurs last 11 games before the All-Star break due to hip and quadriceps injuries. He came off the bench in all three games he played during that stretch, playing as a reserve for the first time since he was a rookie with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006-07.
The Spurs won six of the eight games in which Aldridge was out, entering the All-Star break with an 18-14 record. They are in seventh place in the Western Conference standings.
Aldridge has averaged 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this season, shooting 46.4% from the ground and 36% from 3-point range.
“He has done everything we asked him to do,” Popovich said. “At this point, we would like to do something that works for both him and our club, because he deserves it.”
Aldridge averaged 19.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game over five and a half seasons with the Spurs, with whom he signed in free agency after spending the first nine seasons of his career in Portland.