The San Antonio Spurs are looking to move into the top 10 in this year’s NBA draft. And to do so, they’re actively shopping veteran power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright.
Aldridge’s looming free agency in 2018 has been the undertone of his disappointing 2016-17 season. His contract has a player option after next season, one he chose not to speak about when asked by ESPN during the playoffs.
"He can opt out in a year," Spurs GM R.C. Buford said, according to ESPN. "There's a point in time that we'll have to address what's next. At that time, we'll deal with it. As you build a team, you make decisions along the way."
The Spurs executed their way to another successful season, placing second in the West and making the Conference Finals. But San Antonio was swept out of the series against the Golden State Warriors after Kawhi Leonard re-aggravated an ankle injury late in Game 1. Aldridge, who had 28 points in that Game 1 loss, combined for just 34 points on 15-of-39 shooting through the remaining three games.
After Game 2, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich publicly chided his All-Star forward for scoring eight points in 27 minutes and going without a bucket in the first half.
"LaMarcus has got to score for us," Popovich said, according to the Express-News’ Jabari Young. "He can't be timid. He turned down shots ... He's got a major responsibility in Game 3."
The 76ers, Lakers, Celtics, Suns, Kings (No. 5 and 10), Magic, Timberwolves, Knicks, and Mavericks each hold top-10 draft picks. Phoenix pushed hard for Aldridge during his free agency two summers ago, but he signed with San Antonio instead.