LaMarcus Aldridge played only five games with the Nets before suffering an irregular heartbeat that led to his retirement announcement on Thursday, but he made an impact in that short time and his departure leaves a hole in both the locker room and the lineup.
"I sympathize with LaMarcus," general manager Sean Marks said before the Nets faced the Hornets Friday night at Barclays Center. "This obviously was not an easy decision for him after a remarkable 15-year career. What he gave up in order to come and be a Net, even though it was for a short period, speaks volumes for who he is and what he was about. We wish him all the best."
Marks was referring to the fact Aldridge gave back $7.25 million as part of his buyout agreement with the Spurs so he could join the Nets in pursuit of an NBA title. Nets coach Steve Nash immediately put the seven-time All-Star into the starting lineup, and now he must adjust again.
"It’s a sad situation," Nash said. "You always feel for a guy who has given his life to the game, loves to play and was excited to be here and clearly was going to play a role for us. Most importantly, though, he avoided a terrible [health risk]. You feel sad for him that he’s not playing, but you feel happy that he made a sound decision and that he can be healthy and have a great life with his family."
Marks said he will take his time, see which other players come off the injury list and then decide how to fill the roster spot.
"You’re not going to find another LaMarcus just sitting out there waiting for us," Marks said. "I don’t think it’s set in stone that we have to go one way or the other, whether it’s a big or a guard."
Guards James Harden (strained right hamstring) and Tyler Johnson (right knee soreness) remain on the injury list, but Marks said Harden has "met his markers up to this point" and needs one or two more intense practice sessions before he returns within the next week or so.
Asked if there is any chance guard Spencer Dinwiddie will recover from December knee surgery to rejoin the Nets for the playoffs, Marks said, "I would never bet against Spencer Dinwiddie. He loves to prove people wrong, so who am I to sit up here and say he’s not going to be able to do something? I think the primary concern for Spencer is his long-term health."