Natalie Beaulieu of PDXBros.com writes that the Portland Trail Blazers should seriously consider the possibility of moving All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge this summer after watching last year's Dwight Howard saga unfold.
The Dwight Howard-Orlando situation should be avoided at all costs. The Blazers need to be clear with Aldridge about everything as soon as possible, because friction between front offices and players never ends up looking good. Plus, the rushed trade between Orlando and Los Angeles resulted in underwhelming seasons for both teams.
Portland needs to get their "feelers" out there this summer and begin to look for trade options. Aldridge will be hard to replace, and Portland might want to study the moves made by Denver when they traded Carmelo. The Nuggets are one of the few NBA teams without a true leader or "Big Three" who have found success and made runs in the playoffs. The players they acquired from the Carmelo trade, as well as through drafts, have truly fit their team's needs and allowed them to find a winning formula. I'm not saying that Portland should copy Denver's playbook and look for role players, but the overall strategy is worth noting.
Trading high-caliber players is difficult because both teams want positive outcomes and long-term value. Like all professional sports leagues, the NBA is a business and players' wishes are rarely prioritized over team needs. If Aldridge doesn't intend on re-signing with Portland, then the team needs to do whatever it takes to capitalize on him before his contract is up.
Aldridge recently said this to Leo Sepkowitz of SlamOnline about his future in Portland.
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.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter