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Is LaMarcus Aldridge on his way out of Portland?

The chatter about LaMarcus Aldridge possibly leaving the Portland Trail Blazers will only continue to get louder as free agency approaches. Aldridge turned down an extension last offseason, and the rumblings about him thinking about going elsewhere really began this spring, with a report from Jason Quick of The Oregonian saying Blazers teammates were concerned about the star big man leaving. One player even put it at 50/50 that he’d return.

Not helping matters was the fact that the banged-up Blazers were rudely dismissed from the first round of the postseason by the Memphis Grizzlies, making it the eighth time in nine years that Aldridge didn’t advance past the first round. Aldridge has never been past the second round of the playoffs.

Aldridge really struggled in this year’s first-round series loss to the Memphis Grizzlies as he battled through multiple injuries, with a hand injury ultimately requiring surgery. Wesley Matthews didn’t play in the series because of a torn Achilles, while Arron Afflalo was banged-up as well and mostly ineffective when he did play.

Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports

Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports

Portland has a huge offseason ahead of them. Not only is Aldridge a free agent, but Matthews, Afflalo (player option) and Robin Lopez are all headed to free agency as well. Aldridge could see the writing on the wall with this team and try to find a better situation in an attempt to make a deeper run into the playoffs.

Adding to the speculation about Aldridge’s future is the fact that the home he’s been living in is now up for sale. It’s worth noting that he was simply renting the house (owned by Damon Stoudamire) and moved out in May, but some are taking this to mean that he’s preparing to leave Portland.

The San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks are two popular destinations that have been brought up for Aldridge. He’s a Texas guy, so this would make some sense, but the Spurs would have to do some serious cap gymnastics to make that work. The Mavericks could make the money work easier, although the viability of an Aldridge/Dirk Nowitzki frontcourt would be interesting.

The Boston Celtics are another team likely to come calling, and they’ll have the cap space to make something happen. The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers will have the cap space as well, and we know those teams are always looking to make a splash.

Needless to say, Aldridge will have his options if he truly wants to leave Portland. Going back to the Blazers would remain a solid move as well, because Damian Lillard is a star teammate and there are some other nice pieces on the roster, especially if guys like Matthews and Lopez return. But it’s understandable if he wants to give it a go somewhere else after not having much playoff success in the same spot for nine seasons.

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