…And with the 2nd pick in the 2006 NBA Draft the Chicago Bulls select…LaMarcus Aldridge.
Thinking back on that day, it’s hard to believe that was 10 years ago. Better yet, it’s painful to remember that day. You feel as though the Bulls were taking a step in the right direction. One problem. That step sent the team tumbling down a flight of stairs. (Figuratively speaking, of course.) We took our shiny, promising new pick and traded the rights to it to the Portland Trail Blazers for LSU’s Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa.
Now, this isn’t a knock against Thomas as a player, but he just didn’t pan out for us. Like many Bulls players before, it just didn’t work. As for Khryapa, well I’m still trying to figure out what the Bulls saw in him in the first place. Aldridge on the other hand, went on to be a 5-time All-Star. In other words: HE WENT ON TO BE A BEAST.
I bring up these sore spots to bulls fans because there is a small glimmer of hope that has been bestowed upon us. According to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, Aldridge may not finish the season with San Antonio.
“Sources were telling me the other day that LaMarcus Aldridge may not even finish the year with the Spurs. That experiment hasn’t quite worked out the way they hoped,” said MacMullan.
While some would say this is all just a fairytale, there’s reasons you could site for them wanting to part ways. 1. Aldridge knew Duncan was basically setting up to retire when he went to visit and inked the deal last summer. So he probably felt as though he would share the frontcourt with Tim for one season then assume the role that was much like his in Portland. That things would be centered around him. All of that changed when the Spurs went and signed the Bulls’ free agent Power Forward Pau Gasol this past summer. 2. Another reason Aldridge may want a change in scenery is because of his decline in stats. While he saw improvement to things such as an increase in field goal percentage and blocks, in just one season in San Antonio in comparison to his final season in Portland, there was a drastic decrease in stats such as points, field goal attempts and rebounds. Coming from a team that was counting on you to be the man. A team that was focused around you dominating, being plugged into a system that focuses on team play and unselfishness more so than anything else is a frustrating process to assimilate to.
Now, while MacMullan did not divulge any information as to who these sources were, and there has been no indication of such feelings out of the San Antonio Spurs’ organization, all it takes is that quote to have teams scrambling to put together a pitch to land L.A.
One team that certainly needs to be interested in acquiring the All-Star Power Forward? The Chicago Bulls. They definitely have the assets to get a deal done. You would think Taj Gibson would be the focal point of the deal, alongside a combination of Mirotic or McDermott (Please not McDermott, he’s going to be good.) and draft picks.
This move would be a win-win for all parties involved. The Bulls would get a proven and developed star in Aldridge who can practically do it all, to pair with NBA champions Wade and Rondo, and emerging star in Jimmy Butler. The Spurs would be getting a hard working, defensive minded team player in Taj Gibson. Shooters in Mirotic and/or McDermott. We’ve seen shooters flourish in that system for years. Plus they would receive the added incentive of the picks. The Bulls have been drafting well as of late, plus the Spurs have been known to make the most out of their players. Sounds like an offer the Spurs couldn’t refuse.
LaMarcus Aldridge is coming into the second year of the huge 3-year deal he signed with the Spurs last summer. On top of that, the Spurs now have the most dominant frontcourt with Leonard, Aldridge and Gasol, who were all All-Stars last season. So, it wouldn’t seem to be the Spurs’ way to just cut bait with a player of the caliber of LaMarcus Aldridge after just one season.
Fans shouldn’t get too amped up until word of “irreconcilable differences “ comes from the Spurs themselves, but if this rumor has any legs to stand on, the Bulls should run with it.