In the wake of the Portland Trail Blazers trading Nicolas Batum, ESPN's Marc Stein tweets that LaMarcus Aldridge is "likely" leaving Portland and that the Los Angeles Lakers are moving up his list of possible destinations.
ESPN's LaMarcus Aldridge latest: Batum trade only latest signal of Aldridge's likely departure and sources say Lakers are moving up his list— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 25, 2015
ESPN sources say Lakers appear to be passing Dallas on list of likely destinations for Aldridge should he leave POR. San Antonio still No. 1— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 25, 2015
In contrast, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports earlier tweeted that Batum's departure was not connected with Aldridge's free agent decision.
Sources: Blazers didn't make deal as first step of rebuilding. Aldridge was aware of trade, and Blazers did deal independent of free agency.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 24, 2015
Update: Stein has now penned a full article on the subject. It includes the following:
The Portland Trail Blazers traded forward Nicolas Batum on Wednesday amid a growing belief within the organization that LaMarcus Aldridge is poised to leave them in free agency, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com the Blazers have been pressing for more concrete signals from Aldridge's camp about his plans before the July 1 start of free agency and are increasingly fearful they have little chance of retaining the All-Star big man once he hits the open market.