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The virtue in buying out LaMarcus Aldridge’s contract

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The big man has done everything the Spurs asked him to do.

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

I must admit, I have struggled with LaMarcus Aldridge impending exit. After seeing the Spurs buyout Pao Gasol’s contract, essentially paying him not to play (and play for another team at that) only to follow by waiving DeMarre Carroll and playing his salary while he finished the season in Houston, I did not see the virtue in buying out LaMarcus’ contract.

In my opinion, either get the trade you want or keep him and let him play out his contract. Obviously, it isn’t up to me (and thank goodness for that) because in another situation a San Antonio Spurs franchise run through my uneducated lens would have probably kept and forced Kawhi Leonard to play with the Silver & Black just to spite him for driving his trade value down.

So, in cases like these, I reach out to those more knowledgeable and here is a little of what I learned:

  • The Spurs are the good guys. They want what is best for their players.
  • They are willing to give their players, in this specific case LaMarcus, latitude because the franchise asked a lot of him and he delivered. Remember, he requested a trade early on in during his first contract but was willing to work it out with Pop. Now the Spurs are returning that favor.
  • Because of the way the Spurs were adjusting to the youth movement, LaMarcus was seeing lower personal numbers. His trade value had diminished to some degree because of his willingness to play within the emerging system. The team is bigger than any individual player.
  • On that note, Pop’s system, the Spurs system, requires a player be over himself. LMA had proven that in spades. So when the player asks something for himself, the franchise responds in kind.
  • A trade for a trade’s sake could be the worse option in this case as LaMarcus’ salary is so high the Spurs could be forced to take unnecessary players or terrible contracts (see Timofey Mozgov and/or Anderson Varejao- the last time I checked, there was more that one team paying Varejao not to play with them).

And here’s the kicker that took place through a series of texts:

“A buyout can change the entire fortune of a team . . . and the league.”

“How?” I ask.

“Without Charlotte’s buyout (and the Spurs pickup of) Boris Diaw in 2012, the Spurs never make it to 2 straight Finals and torch the Heat in 2014.”

Sold!

In explaining any point-of-view to me, placing the issue in the perspective of the Spurs is the quickest way to get me to understand. I’m simple like that.

Pending any crazy, unforeseen, last minute mathematical gymnastics, the Spurs will buyout LaMarcus Aldridge’s contract after the trade deadline passes and LMA is rumored to possibly join Jimmy Butler, maybe even Kyle Lowery in an attempt to change the fate of another NBA team.

And possibly earn Aldridge a ring he so respectfully deserves.


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