LaMarcus Aldridge is set to be one of the top free agents on the market this summer in the NBA and teams like the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NY Knicks and LA Clippers could be interested in signing him if he does not return to the Portland Trail Blazers in free agency.
Aldridge has been rumored to be considering leaving Portland and a report last month had Aldridge and Kevin Love as the "most likely" to move teams this summer. According to Pro Basketball Talk, there are conflicting reports about Aldridge and his future, as the Columbian.com is reporting that Aldridge has told the team that he is not returning to Portland. Later GM Neil Olshey came out and said that the report was not true and that the team has not heard from Aldridge about any final decisions on his free agent plans.
Either way, Aldridge is going to be a target for teams on the market and there is a good chance he could leave Portland. The team has already made some moves that could signal they are getting ready for his departure, as they have traded Nicolas Batum to the Hornets. The team is reportedly in the mix for Kevin Love, as Love is from the Pacific Northwest and the move with Batum will help clear cap space. That space could be for Aldridge, but the team also is preparing for him leaving and could chase Love, according to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.
Wojnarowski called the Blazers a "dark horse" in the Kevin Love chase and they could step up and try to sign the forward if Aldridge looks at leaving. The team has Damian Lillard to build around and they may also lose Wesley Matthews this summer. Aldridge looks likely to leave and with the conflicting reports coming out, the Blazers are hoping that they can keep him or at least replace him with someone like Love. Love has officially opted out of his contract and while many see him returning to the Cavaliers, he will be chased by a number of teams on the market.
Aldridge and Love should have a number of teams chasing after both of them, including the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks as well as the Houston Rockets and Mavericks. According to Marc Stein at ESPN.com, the Texas teams are the "biggest threats" for Aldridge to leave Portland, with Dallas and Houston at the top. The Spurs could be an option if certain players leave in free agency, but the Mavs and Rockets are more likely than San Antonio.
Aldridge just had another strong season and he will be getting a max deal or close to it on the market this summer. Love is also in line for a max deal and if he doesn't sign with the Cavs, the Celtics and Lakers will make a big push for him. Aldridge is also a target for the Celtics, as Boston has a ton of money to spend and could woo a big free agent with a long term deal. NBA free agency has big names this summer, with Love and Aldridge being two of the biggest that could change teams.