Bucher: Blazers F LaMarcus Aldridge Is A "Candidate" For A Draft Trade

Greg Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has his name surface in a trade rumor in advance of Thursday's 2013 NBA Draft.

Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea reports that Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge could be on the move this week.

League source: three veterans who are candidates to be in deals leading up to, or during NBA draft are the Bulls' Luol Deng, Pacers' Danny Granger and Blazers' Lamarcus Aldridge. The Cavs apparently have interest in Deng and he certainly would be a terrific role model and leader-by-example for a young squad; the Cavs also have a gaping hole at that position and if they have interest in vying for a playoff spot next season, a rookie out of this draft isn't going to move them appreciably closer. That said, there is skepticism that the Cavs are actually serious about parting with the No. 1 pick because they keep asking for assets as if it were the first pick in next year's draft.

Back in May, there was some chatter that Aldridge might be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 1 pick.

Also in May, Aldridge offered this assessment of his standing with the Blazers.

LA: You know, as of now I'm here and we have a great team. I'm here now and we have a team that can definitely get better next year and we have cap room so we can bring in players. So I'm definitely here, and we'll see what happens.

During his April exit interview, Aldridge suggested it could take two years for the Blazers to return to the playoffs.

Where this team is headed: "This year was a down year. I think it was better than what people thought it would be, it ended bad. I think if we add one or two pieces this summer and we have one OK season, I feel like that following season we should be good, really good."

...

Timeline for improvement: "I think just getting into the playoffs isn't good. I've done that. I think one year of maybe, barely getting in or not getting in, and that next year we should be able to really be serious about it."

Here was Blazers GM Neil Olshey's response to Aldridge's exit interview comments.

I don't think you can speculate today because I don't know what free agency is going to bring, I don't know what the draft is going to bring, I don't know what trades are going to bring. But I know we're going to do everything we can to build the roster. To sit here and put an artificial expectation on what a roster may or may not be when you only have eight returning players and you haven't drafted yet or gone into free agency doesn't make a lot of sense.

But I do know from L.A.'s perspective, we talked, and he knows we're going to be aggressive in building the roster. I'd like to think the improvement from the guys who are already here on top of the guys we're going to bring in will make us a factor faster rather than later.

Aldridge, 27, is under contract through the 2014-15 season.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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