The Nets now are the definition of the term "embarrassment of riches." On Saturday afternoon, seven-time NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge agreed to join a roster that already includes former All-Stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
The news first was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, who cited Aldridge’s agent Jeff Schwartz as the source, and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Aldridge accepted the veteran’s minimum.
A source confirmed the Aldridge signing to Newsday. Assuming he underwent regular COVID-19 testing before negotiating a buyout from the Spurs last Thursday, it’s likely Aldridge will join the Nets when they begin a three-game homestand against the Timberwolves Monday night at Barclays Center.
Aldridge was making $24 million this season with the Spurs but reportedly gave back $7.25 million in his buyout in similar fashion to Griffin reportedly giving back $13.3 million of his $36.8 million salary for the opportunity to become a free agent and sign for the veteran’s minimum with the Nets during the All-Star break.
At the age of 35, Aldridge has faded and was averaging 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21 games with the Spurs compared to career averages of 19.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists. But the 6-11, 250-pound power forward/center, who is in his 15th NBA season (nine with Portland and six with San Antonio) was shooting 46.4% overall and 36.0% from three-point range.
Aldridge sat out 17 of his final 20 games with the Spurs. The last game he played was on March 1 in a 124-113 overtime loss to the Nets, scoring two points in 15 minutes. Aldridge reportedly was suffering from hip and quadriceps injuries before the All-Star break. It’s quite possible he will go through a conditioning period with the Nets’ performance team much as Griffin did before joining their playing rotation.
The question facing Nets coach Steve Nash now is where to fit Aldridge into the mix. Durant has missed 21 of the past 22 games while recovering from a left hamstring strain, and Irving has missed the past three games for personal reasons.
Most likely, Aldridge will play center for the Nets, but it’s unclear if he will start or come off the bench behind Jordan. The Nets also have Jeff Green, Griffin and Nic Claxton at power forward and will have Durant at small forward along with sharp-shooting Joe Harris.
Given a cast that includes Harden, Irving, Landry Shamet, Bruce Brown and Tyler Johnson in the backcourt, it’s hard to imagine a deeper team in the NBA.