LaMarcus Aldridge will not return to the Portland Trail Blazers and will sign elsewhere as a free agent this summer, according to Erik Gundersen of The Columbian. A Western Conference executive said Aldridge has already informed the Trail Blazers of his plans, Gundersen reports.
The four-time All-Star has slowly been drifting away from Portland since the Blazers' disappointing end to the 2014-15 season. ESPN reported that Aldridge was "99.9 percent" likely to leave and listed the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers as his top choices in free agency. The Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets will also be in the picture.
The Blazers appear to be preparing for life after Aldridge, especially after trading longtime small forward Nicolas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh. Initial reports suggested the deal was done independently of Aldridge's future, but a second league executive told The Columbian that it was indeed a "rebuilding move."
Portland will look to reload by trying to keep shooting guard Wesley Matthews and even pursuing Cavaliers free agent Kevin Love, according to The Columbian.
Aldridge has played all nine of his years in Portland after being selected No. 2 in the 2006 NBA Draft. He is eligible to sign a four-year maximum contract worth 30 percent of the cap with any other team.