The monetary ramifications of Aldridge’s contract are not isolated to the distant future. Aldridge is Portland’s highest paid player at $15 million this season and $16 million in 2014-2015. Right now, he’s worth it, but I guarantee the Blazers will be hurting a year from now.
In the final season of Aldridge’s contract, the Blazers are on the books for $52 million. That is before making any decisions on Lillard, Robinson, Barton, or Harris. Keeping Lillard and Barton alone would put Portland at capacity. They need to convert obligation into flexibility.
One way to do this is to trade Aldridge for a cheaper high-level player and a sweet, sweet trade exception. The Blazers are going to need something to work with a year from now. Since LaMarcus holds the largest contract, he is the best candidate- not to mention the most desirable.
Who knows? Maybe Portland will finally find the center of their dreams and we can put an end to the Blazers’ most publicized narrative; though I would not be opposed to looking at other positions. One’s options are extensive when offering an all-star.