The last offseason rumor about LaMarcus Aldridge proved to be untrue, but this one is worth paying attention to.
Reports from journalists that cover teams with high draft picks are citing sources that tell them that the San Antonio Spurs are offering LaMarcus Aldridge to move into the top 10, possibly the top 5 of the NBA Draft.
John Gambadoro covers the Phoenix Suns, who have the No. 4 pick in the draft, and says that the Spurs have contacted the Suns about their pick:
Spurs already looking to move LaMarcus Aldridge - offered him to move into the top 5 of the draft.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) June 21, 2017
Sam Amico says that the Sacramento Kings, who have the No. 10 pick, are players to take on Aldridge for their pick:
Aldridge has nearly $44 million left on his deal, and they're the ones putting out feelers. So whatever team deals with the Spurs is going to have leverage to give away more than just a top pick.
For instance, the Suns might want to unload Tyson Chandler or Jared Dudley's contract. But even if the Spurs take on money after acquiring a top pick and dump Aldridge, that means they're going to have even more money available to sign free agents this offseason when the free agency period begins on July 1 (when players can make verbal agreements with teams on contracts).
As of now, the Spurs have $30 million to work with this season thanks to Pau Gasol opting out of his player option. It's possible that the Spurs could have around $40 million if they successfully trade Aldridge, add to their bench and future with a higher draft pick in a loaded draft, and then successfully bring back the role players they liked this past season on top of signing a big free agent to push them closer to championship contention.
The Spurs started this offseason as a championship contender as they usually are, but they've suddenly put themselves in position to grab whatever free agent they want, and if they dump Aldridge for a higher pick, they'd be the biggest power players in an offseason loaded with talent.
Just two years after signing Aldridge as a free agent was a huge event in the city of San Antonio, trading him away could be news just as worthy of celebration.