Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM wrote earlier this week that a trade for Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge or Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love would make sense for the Houston Rockets after agreeing to sign All-Star center Dwight Howard this summer.
For the Rockets, the obvious move is either Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge. They are two of the best power forwards in the NBA, but Aldridge has never won a playoff series and Love has never even made the postseason. While both are still two years from free agency, the pressure on their teams is building already. The vast majority of stars sign extensions with the team that drafts them. They don't leave until the end of their second contract, when they hit unrestricted free agency for the first time.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers both improved this offseason, but neither team has a second star, nor a realistic means of acquiring one. Damian Lillard and Ricky Rubio are interesting players, but they'll need to beat out Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson to make an All-Star team. Unless their young point guards make the leap, Minnesota and Portland look like one-and-done playoff teams, at best.
Emptying the cupboard would be a difficult decision for Daryl Morey, but a legitimate Big Three would be too tempting to pass up. Howard, Harden and an All-Star PF would devastate the NBA. That's the formula for a dynasty: three elite players in their prime whose games complement each other. Aldridge and Love are great shooters who can contribute on both sides the floor, pretty much the ideal skill-set for a complementary star.
Aldridge's name has been in trade rumors for a few weeks now.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey told Blazersedge this week that his discussions with Aldridge would remain private, but that Aldridge was "pleased" with Portland's 2013 offseason.
Blazers coach Terry Stotts told Blazersedge this week that he's received no indication of unhappiness from Aldridge this summer.
Earlier this summer, Aldridge told multiple media outlets, including The Oregonian, that he had not gone to management to demand a trade.
"I haven't demanded a trade," Aldridge said in the e-mail.
"I'm looking forward to who we sign in free agency to make us better," Aldridge said in the e-mail.
Aldridge also replied "no" to a fan asking on Twitter asking him whether he was leaving the Blazers.
Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune reported that Aldridge told a reporter that he did in fact go to Olshey to request a trade.
Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reported that Aldridge "loves Portland" but is interested in a trade if substantial improvements to the roster aren't made. The Bulls and Dallas Mavericks were listed as his desired destinations.
Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported that Aldridge "wants out" of Portland and believes the city is "too small" and "too boring." Blazers GM Neil Olshey was quoted as saying that he wasn't making outgoing trade calls about Aldridge but that he would listen if the phone rang, and that Aldridge hadn't yet issued a trade demand.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter