According to ESPN's Marc Stein, LaMarcus Aldridge has informed the Portland Trail Blazers he will not be returning next season in favor of hitting the free agent market. Aldridge has been hinting at this idea for some time now after being unhappy with the team's early departure in the postseason. The power forward is aiming to join a championship roster as a number of teams are aiming to make a run at the star. The Dallas Mavericks were hoping to be in the lead for Aldridge, but now that is no longer the case.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers are quickly gaining steam as a team that will make a run at Aldridge. They have the free agency space to acquire the forward as they build a roster to move them beyond the post-Bryant era. The Dallas Mavericks were thought to be winning the Aldridge race considering the star is from Texas and his mother and family reside in the state. Not to mention, the Mavericks' roster is more enticing than say the aging unit in San Antonio or the incomplete on in Los Angeles. If Aldridge does not sign to Dallas, who will the team target?
Over the past few seasons the Mavericks have been forced into a Plan B option as players like Deron Williams and Chris Bosh both denied a move to the franchise. According to HoopsHabit.com, that will also happen with Aldridge as the competition grows for the forward. Tim MacMahon reports that if Aldridge is not an option, the Mavericks will try and acquire DeAndre Jordan away from the Los Angeles Clippers with a big contract. Other options at power forward will include Brandon Bass, Ed Davis and Jordan Hill.
With Monta Ellis opting out of his contract, pressure is on Parsons to prove Dallas does not need him. However, the Mavericks will still look at other shooting guard options. According to RealGM.com, Danny Green is gaining speed as a potential option for the Mavericks. He is likely to command a contract of around $10 million per season which might be too much for the Mavericks to take on if they also want someone like Aldridge or Jordan.
The last task for Dallas is finding a replacement for Rajon Rondo. According to the Dallas Morning News, Parsons is pushing for Patrick Beverley who is getting targeted by a number of teams. Other affordable options could include Brandon Knight, Aaron Brooks or Jeremy Lin who would likely enjoy the idea of re-teaming with Parsons.
Dallas will be stretched financially and must determine which position gets the max contract and which position do they need to think about getting a cheaper player in. The championship window is beginning to close for Dallas thanks to the aging Dirk Nowitzki, so Mark Cuban must capitalize now.