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“If Portland was ever going to trade Aldridge, they’d be sure to get the best return possible for him, as they should. If a trade with Cleveland was ever going to happen, Portland would undoubtedly insist on getting that pick (with other assets included as well) in exchange for their star big man. The reputation of this year’s draft gives Portland more leeway in trade negotiations. If the first overall were available, then that’s when trading Aldridge becomes an idea for management to consider.
As good as Aldridge is, he’s 28 next month. Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum are 22 and 24 respectively, and their best years lie ahead of them. Aldridge will be on the wrong side of 30 when they hit their prime. Could the Blazers conceivably be a contender with an aging Aldridge? I’m hesitant to say yes, and it would require a lot more depth than what they have now. It’s hard to imagine them rising to that level.
By flipping Aldridge for young assets such as center Nerlens Noel via the first overall pick and one of Tristan Thompson/Dion Waiters, the Trail Blazers could add a bunch of good young players that can all reach their prime at once. Flipping Aldridge for two players also helps with the problem of depth, and from what we have seen so far, Lillard seems like a mature enough figure to replace Aldridge as a leader. Throw in some veteran leadership, some complimentary role players (and while very raw, Meyers Leonard is still a very nice asset to have alongside the other young players), and there you have a foundation that could be better to work with.” [Yeung/Rip City Project]