**UPDATE 09/03/21 6:10 PM**
LaMarcus Aldridge has officially re-signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
After retiring with heart concerns five months ago, seven-time All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is returning on a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets, his agent Jeff Schwartz of @excelbasketball tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 3, 2021
Well, the Bulls plan A for a backup power forward didn’t work out. The Bulls were in pursuit of veteran forward Paul Millsap who ended up signing with the Brooklyn Nets. If you look at the remaining free-agent power forwards the list isn’t great. Millsap was one of the last free agents worth bringing on as a backup. That was until news broke yesterday that a 15-year veteran has been medically cleared to return to the NBA.
LaMarcus Aldridge has been cleared to play again, passing all of the necessary tests, per @ShamsCharania.
The Nets are reportedly leaders to sign Aldridge. pic.twitter.com/gy4ozjWOTY
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 2, 2021
After a bit of a scare earlier this year forward LaMarcus Aldridge retired from the NBA. There was concern about his heart and he made the decision to step away. However, after only being retired for about 5 months Aldridge is making his return to the NBA. While it’s been heavily reported that the Nets are the favorites to sign Aldridge there’s still a chance he could wind up in the Windy City.
The Bulls are on Aldridge’s radar
Aldridge last played for the Brooklyn Nets. While it was only 5 games it was still his most recent team after playing half the season in San Antonio. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Aldridge head back to Brooklyn as his career is coming to an end and that’s where every player chasing a championship has been heading. However, it was just reported that the Bulls are on Aldridge’s radar as he makes this decision.
Free-agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge has the Chicago Bulls on his radar, per @KCJHoop on the Bulls Talk Podcast.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) September 3, 2021
While that ultimately may mean nothing if he signs with Brooklyn it’s good to at least see the Bulls being on someone’s radar. That just goes to show how quickly the Bulls front office has turned the team’s image around. At this stage, it is 100% about what Aldridge wants to make at the end of his career. If he wants to join a ridiculously stacked Brooklyn team just to chase a championship then he can do that. If he wants to join an up-and-coming Bulls team and contribute meaningful minutes off the bench then it’s certainly an option. The question is what does he still have left in the tank?
Can Aldridge contribute still?
After briefly retiring due to medical reasons there’s certainly concern surrounding Aldridge. Yes, he was cleared by doctors and has passed all necessary tests. It’s just one of those things you can’t be 100% certain about. However, medical issues aside Aldridge absolutely can still contribute to whatever team he goes to. While he’s 36 years old he still has some good basketball still to play. It’s hard to go off of last year’s numbers but if you look at the 26 games he did play in last year he averaged 13.5 PPG, 47.3 %FG, 4.5 RPG, & 1.1 BPG. He still appears to have some good basketball left in him. At a minimum, he can still contribute off the bench in a backup role. Aldridge played 10 of his 15 seasons in the NBA at the power forward position. At 6’11” and 250 pounds he’s big enough to hold his own at the center and forward position.
The Bulls need depth at the power forward position and Aldridge might just be that guy. This team has the money to bring him in, at this stage, it’s just a matter of if he wants to be here.
Aldridge will finally be a Bull
In case you don’t know the history between the Bulls and Aldridge here’s a quick snapshot. The Bulls drafted Aldridge with the second pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. He was then traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for the 4th overall pick which turned into Tyrus Thomas and one additional player. The rest is history. Thomas never really panned out for the Bulls and Aldridge went on to become a 7x NBA All-Star. While we could debate the fallout from this we will just move on.
Aldridge isn’t my first choice of backup power forwards at this point in his career. However, based on what is still left to pick from I wouldn’t mind adding the veteran presence. If he can still contribute 10+ points per game then I see no reason not to bring him in. At a minimum, the Bulls should bring him in for a workout if he’s on their radar.
A workout wouldn't hurt at the very least, right? https://t.co/MujqABJGDs
— Artūras Karnišovas Fan Club (@arturasfanclub) September 3, 2021
This would give the front office an up close and personal look at Aldridge to see what he’s still got left in the tank. At 36 he knows the big contracts are behind him. If he wants to be part of something special in Chicago instead of join a super team then let’s give him a workout. Aldridge would bring veteran knowledge that can help our young power forward in Patrick Williams. If Aldridge can still compete then the Bulls would be foolish to not discuss this possibility.