NBA PM: Blazers Lose LaMarcus Aldridge
The Portland Trail Blazers announced on Wednesday that All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge will need to undergo arthroscopic surgery “on his right hip to repair a labral tear.” He’ll easily miss the rest of the season with just seven games remaining for the Blazers.
“In his most recent MRI, and following further evaluation, it’s been determined that LaMarcus has a slight labral tear and will require arthroscopic surgery,” said Acting General Manager Chad Buchanan. “LaMarcus’ priority is that he’s 100-percent healthy going into training camp this fall and we all feel this is the best course. He’s had an All-Star year and his long-term health is the most important thing to consider.”
The date for the procedure has yet to be set.
At 28-31, the Blazers weren’t likely to make the playoffs this year even before losing Aldridge. Even if Portland wins out at 35-31, the odds of the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets (32-26) winning just three games apiece down the stretch seems slim.
For the second-straight year, Aldridge had put up nearly 22 points a game, this year at a higher percentage from the field at 51.2 percent. He was named to his first All-Star team and was easily the Blazers’ best player.
Unfortunately the team has had a difficult season, letting go of head coach Nate McMillan (replaced by Kaleb Canales) and making multiple trades at the deadline with an eye on the future.
Portland is well-armed for the future with significant cap room this summer, more if guard Jamal Crawford opts out as expected.
Aldridge is the last remaining Blazer of the big-three (with Brandon Roy, Greg Oden). Roy retired recently with chronic knee troubles. Oden was waived by the team after multiple injuries, never making a true impact despite being one of the most heralded big men coming into the league in some time.
At the time, Oden over Kevin Durant was debated but widely supported in the NBA community. Ultimately, it proved to be the wrong choice.
Now Aldridge is looking at a two-to-four month recovery in what is another setback for a team that has had a difficult run of bad, bad luck.
The Blazers acquired the New Jersey Nets first-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft (top-three protected) for Gerald Wallace. Perhaps their own lottery pick will be a change of fortune, despite the odds in addition to a top-10 selection via the Nets.
Bynum over Bogut – Howard Next?
Andrew Bogut, center for the Golden State Warriors (eventually, once he recovered from a broken ankle), recently spoke to Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times about who is the best center in the league.
“I think Dwight [Howard is] No. 1,” said Bogut, which seems to be the general consensus over Howard’s career with the Orlando Magic.
Bogut, who was drafted first overall in 2005 NBA Draft, gave credit to Andrew Bynum, who was taken nine slots later on the same day by the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I think Bynum’s obviously taken over No. 2,” said Bogut. “For a while, it was me and Bynum, but I think Bynum’s solidified the No. 2.”
Bogut’s comments were made prior to Andrew’s 30-rebound game on Wednesday night in San Antonio.
For the season, Bynum has averaged 18.4 points on 56.4% shooting with 12.2 rebounds and two blocks, playing 35.4 minutes a game. Most importantly for the Lakers he’s missed just one game to injury (a minor sprained ankle) although Andrew had to sit out with suspension for the first four after an ill-advised hit in the playoffs on guard J.J. Barea.
Howard has also played in 54 games, missing four, while averaging 20.6 points on 57.3% shooting, 14.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 38.3 minutes.
Over his career, Dwight is more accomplished individually (although Bynum does have the two championship rings) but the gap has closed this year.
Through almost eight seasons, Howard has averaged 18.4 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game. Bynum isn’t close over nearly seven seasons at 11.6 points, 7.8 boards and 1.6 blocks . . . but then Andrew came in as a much-unpolished 17-year old kid. Dwight comparatively came in as a full-grown man.
The biggest difference between the two has been durability. Prior to this year Bynum averaged 55.3 games a season, suffering through multiple knee injuries; Howard has played in 81 of 82 games without a significant health concern.
The past isn’t always indicative of the future. Howard is heading into the final year of his deal with the Magic after a long-running trade demand before he finally opted in to next season’s $19.5 million.
The Lakers will take their option on Bynum’s $16.1 million next season, also his final year.
It remains unclear as to whether or not LA ever offered Bynum to the Magic for Howard this season, especially with little assurance that Dwight would re-sign with the Lakers.
Both Bynum and Howard have shown they have some maturing to do, but it’s far less of a “no-brainer” for the Lakers to pursue Dwight than it has been in the past.
The statement always begins, “If Bynum can stay healthy…”
If he does, Bynum may not just eclipse Bogut but Howard himself.
Maggette Done for Season
The Charlotte Bobcats announced that forward Corey Maggette will be out for the rest of the season with a strained right Achilles’ tendon. Maggette suffered the injury on March 30th and after sitting a few games, tried to return. Now he’ll shut it down for the Bobcats’ final 10 on the schedule.
Maggette is currently the team’s leading scorer at 15 points per game although he shot just 37.3% from the field through 32 games played. Corey will end up missing 42, just one of many injured Bobcats this year.
While rookie Kemba Walker and reserve Derrick Brown has played in all 56, Gerald Henderson has missed 11, D.J. Augustin 14 and Reggie Williams 27. The list goes on, including Eduardo Najera who is out for the year after an elbow from Milwaukee’ John Brockman fractured his “frontal bone,” putting Najera in the hospital.
It’s been a miserable year for Coach Paul Silas who is doing his best Roger Murtaugh impression (Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon). It would be a surprise if he returns . . . not that he was given a healthy roster with much talent.
Charlotte has all but locked in the top spot heading into the lottery for 2012 NBA Draft which will be held on March 30th in New York (moving from Secaucus, New Jersey). The draft itself will be held on June 28th.
At 7-49, the Bobcats need to hold off the 14-44 Washington Wizards. The odds of Charlotte winning seven more games? Far lower than the 25% chance the team has at the number one pick in the draft, presumed by most to be Kentucky forward Anthony Davis.
The other side of the coin is the 75% chance the Bobcats don’t get Davis, but then there are a number of talented players available between two and four (the lowest the Charlotte would pick) including Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes.
The Bobcats will have to negotiate with restricted free agents D.J. White and Augustin this summer. Maggette, who was acquired from the Bucks for Stephen Jackson, is set to make $10.9 million next season.
Assuming both DeSagana Diop ($7.4 million) and Matt Carroll ($3.5 million) don’t opt out of their contracts, Charlotte will have $43 million in committed salaries.
Add in the cap holds for Augustin, White and the team’s first-round pick, the Bobcats won’t have much cap room to work with this summer. If they part ways with their restricted free agents, they may be able to come up with an eight-figure salary but Charlotte probably shouldn’t be spending that kind of money in free agency anyway on one player.
They’re more than a piece away and there’s probably no All-Star-level free agent likely to come to Charlotte to play for a seven-win team (or however many they finish with).
The Bobcats are rebuilding from their peak in 2009/10, which saw the franchise make their first postseason bid only to be swept by the Orlando Magic. Walker, Henderson and a few others still have plenty of upside as they mature but the Bobcats need to add a lot more talent before they can even think about another playoff run.
Certainly Anthony Davis would be a big step in that direction.
Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @jfleminghoops, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNBA, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.