Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge has been a revered forward in the NBA for 15 seasons.
He spent the first eight years of his career playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. He would generally average a 20-point double-double every year, but he never got past the second round.
Aldridge decided he needed a change of scenery in 2016 when he signed with the San Antonio Spurs in free agency.
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Kevin Durant Thinks LaMarcus Aldridge Belongs In Hall of Fame
In his early campaign with the Spurs, Aldridge continued to perform at a high level. In his second year, he helped lead the Spurs to the Western Conference Finals, but after an injury to then Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard they were swept by the Golden State Warriors.
Kevin Durant was on the Warriors team that swept Aldridge and the Spurs in 2017 and was his teammate during the final stop of his NBA career in Brooklyn.
Durant, a two-time Finals MVP recognizes what Aldridge brought to the game and thinks that his career should earn him a gold jacket one day.
“His 15 years in the league was elite. Hall-of-Fame level,” Durant said via Michael A. Scotto of Hoops Hype.
“I can remember when I was visiting Texas, he was my host on my visit. Then, to finish his last game and play with him in his last game was pretty surreal.”
Kevin Durant reflects on the retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge:
“His 15 years in the league was elite. Hall-of-Fame level” pic.twitter.com/SIDcU1fxnc
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 17, 2021
Kevin Durant on LaMarcus Aldridge: “His 15 years in the league was elite. Hall-of-Fame level. I can remember when I was visiting Texas, he was my host on my visit. Then, to finish his last game and play with him in his last game was pretty surreal.”
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) April 17, 2021
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Aldridge Was Ready To Contribute to Championship Team
Over the past few seasons, Aldridge has seemed to slip through the cracks as a traditional four-man who can still produce, just not carry a team to a championship.
Striving for more wins and ultimately vying for his first championship, Aldridge decided to stop settling and make a drastic shift in his career. In March, he and the Spurs organization mutually agreed to split ways, eventually buying out his contract.
In a momentous turn of events, the five-time All-NBA forward decided to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. He made it clear in an interview that he was no longer concerned about being top dog, but rather just looking to fill a void in the Nets roster; One that could be the difference between rings or bust.
“I’m not here to be an All-Star,” Aldridge said via ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
“That’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to bring the value, try to bring the things I’m good at, and trying to help this team win. I’m not worried about being an All-Star anymore.”
Sean Marks Sounds Off on Aldridge’s Departure
Just as things were looking up for Aldridge, he delivered a devastating announcement on Thursday to announce that he would have to retire from the NBA. The decision comes after experiencing an irregular heartbeat during the Nets game on April 10 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
— LaMarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) April 15, 2021
Many took to social media to express their love for Aldridge after hearing the news about his rather early departure from the game, including Nets General Manager Sean Marks who released a statement expressing respect for his player’s decision.
“We know this was not an easy decision for him,” Marks said via NBC Sports Bay Area.
“But after careful consideration and consultation with numerous medical experts, he made the best decision for him, his family, and for his life after basketball.”
For his career, Aldridge averages 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. Numbers do not tell the whole story with him though. To be as reliable of a big for as long as he did, Aldridge at least deserves Hall of Fame consideration.
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