I was thinking about past Blazer big men who have played the 4 spot and I put together this list of some of the key players from (somewhat) recent history. Although this list is hardly scientific or all-encompassing, it certainly demonstrates their profound importance to a team:
Traded to Blazers in June 1989, age 29 | Left in 1996, Age 36
One of the pivotal moments in franchise history, Buck was an instant success on Portland, making it to the Finals in his first season with the team and again two years later.
Drafted in 1996, age 18 | Traded from Blazers in August 2000, age 22
The young O'Neal was on a power forward heavy squad and found most of his minutes playing center behind Sabonis. He was traded to Indiana where he led the league in blocks in his first season.
Traded to Blazers in July 1996, age 22 | Traded from Blazers in February 2004, age 29
Sheed joined Detroit midway through the season and won it all. They returned to the Finals the following season, narrowly losing to the Spurs in seven games.
Signed with Blazers in Aug 1997, age 25 |Traded from Blazers in Aug 2000, age 28
Many questioned Riley's decision to sign Grant but he continued to impress, putting up big numbers into his thirties.
Drafted in 2001, age 19 | Traded from Blazers in June 2007, age 25
Randolph's Barkley-esque wide ass renders any athleticism completely unnecessary and he remains a dominant force in this league to this day.
Drafted in 2007, age 21
Aldridge has many good years ahead of him. Rasheed Wallace and Buck Williams were 29 when they were traded (the same age LMA will be when his contract expires) and both proved their peak years were ahead, as they reached he Finals multiple times with their new teams. Grant and Randolph also proved to have plenty left in the tank into their later years (Randolph is still a perennial playoff performer, see above description re: wide ass) and Jermaine O'Neal--who we drafted over two decades ago--continues to find a home in the NBA.
Based on this evidence I believe all this crazy talk of trading Aldridge needs to come to an end. We should keep him happy and make it our number one priority to get the biggest, most rebounding-est, defensive playing center available, thereby demonstrating his value to our team by responding to his only request. Let's not make the same mistake of underestimating our star power forward so he can play his prime years elsewhere. Alongside Lillard, LMA will be integral to our future. Let's do everything in our power to keep him in a Blazer uniform!