As most Blazers fans know by now, former Portland Trail Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge made a surprise announcement last week that he was hanging up his jersey for good and retiring after 15 years in the NBA, nine of those with Portland.
Aldridge was drafted second in the 2006 draft by the Chicago Bulls, after playing 2 seasons of college ball for the Texas Longhorns. That draft night, the Bulls traded the rights to Aldridge to the Blazers for, the rights to Tyrus Thomas, drafted 4th overall, and Viktor Khryapa. That same draft helped Portland land Brandon Roy.
Aldridge’s rookie season was mostly spent coming off the bench, as they already had Jamaal Magloire, Ime Udoka, and Zach Randolph in the frontcourt. He would see his first NBA minutes, starting for Maglorie in a 118-90 loss versus the Celtics, November 17. He played in 26:49, logged 12 points, 5 rebounds. The rest of his rookie season, 63 games played, 22 starts, 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds. He would miss the final 8 games that season, due to shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat, diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. He was, along with Roy, voted to the NBA All-Rookie 2007 team.
Portland Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge retires, should his number be?
In the 2007-2008 season, he’d return, nearly doubling his points from his rookie year, 17.8 to go with 7.6 rebounds in 76 games, all of which were as a starter.
Aldridge in 2012, averaging 21.7 points and 8 rebounds, would appear in his first of 7 all-star games.
During the summer of 2015, he became a free agent and signed with San Antonio. Before the offseason, he said he wanted to become the best Trail Blazer ever and to break Portland records, which we all know didn’t happen, and he went home to Texas to play with the Spurs.
It’s fun to imagine, what would happen if…Roy and Greg Oden, who was drafted in the draft the year after Aldridge and Roy, were healthy. Would Portland have won multiple championships? Or, at least, played in the Finals that era? It may have happened. Would Aldridge have signed an extension and remained in Portland? I want to say so. But one thing I am certain of. There likely would not be “Dame Time,” or a need for it and Lillard himself in Portland, as the Blazers would have had a winning record more so, and quite likely, the trade made that ended up being the pick used on Lillard likely wouldn’t have been acquired.
Now comes this. Should LaMarcus’ number 12 be retired in his honor? Lillard thinks so, as he asked the Blazers to retire it immediately, when news broke on his retirement, while Lillard appeared on the Jalen and Jacoby Show.
“Like he was around the ‘B-Roy’ era that they helped rebuild this organization, and he does hold some of the Blazer records and he was good for us,” said Kristen Senechal. “Like, do I like how he left? No, I don’t. But I can forgive him for that. And I would’ve welcomed him back anytime. Because who knows what he could’ve been if no injuries with ‘B-Roy’ and Oden. So I see both sides as to why yes and why no.”
Should they retire it for Aldridge? What about Roy’s 7? They already have 12 numbers retired. If not them, who should be next? Sound off in the comment section.