LaMarcus Aldridge has been cleared to play basketball and is returning to the Brooklyn Nets. The 7x All-Star initially signed with the Nets on March 27 after a buyout from the Spurs. Aldridge unfortunately reached a sudden retirement less than a month after his agreement because of an irregular heartbeat, which he then stated:
“Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve experienced.” Aldridge has dealt with heart-related issues since his rookie season when he was selected No. 2 overall in 2006. He also reported a rapid heart beat known as arrhythmia in 2017 while with the Spurs.
The lasting career of Aldridge misses the significance of a championship and he owns a great chance to add a title to his resume after receiving medical clearance. Before the news, Aldridge was up for the challenge of returning to Brooklyn, but as part of the coaching staff. The tables has turned and he’ll pose for a different position when he’s on the sidelines.
Aldridge suited up for 5 games, all starts, in his brief tenure for the Nets prior to his retirement. The 15-year veteran collected averages of 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27 minutes of action per game. Aldridge took advantage in the post and wised his teammates with spacing after converting 38.9% of his shots from distance in his last full season with San Antonio. Aldridge also dished the ball out to the perimeter for open looks when drawing double-teams. He upped the efficiency of Joe Harris, Jeff Green, and many more.
In an interview with Shams Charania in June, Aldridge remarked on the Nets’ goal and believed the franchise could of succeeded to their first championship if he remained on the team.
“It was tough because I felt I was at a location and with a team that embraced me. I embraced them. We all had a common goal and we had chips on our shoulder to prove something. It was bitter for me,” he told Shams. “I had finally found the cohesiveness that I had wanted for a while in a group. And then all of a sudden I can’t play anymore.
“I felt if I stayed with the group, we definitely could get to the Finals and do something special. Those guys rooted for me just as much as I rooted for them. That’s what makes the game fun; when you have a bunch of guys with no egos and everyone’s cheering for each other to do well.”
This acquisition marks the second for Brooklyn today after agreeing to a deal with Paul Millsap. Millsap also provides a veteran presence and spacing to the lineup. The still productive forward stocks up Brooklyn’s rebounding and list of players with vast playoff experience. Following draft night, GM Sean Marks foreshadowed the signings: “We want to add depth at the big position an that’s going to be important from a defensive and rebounding standpoint.”
Aldridge is undoubtedly a better fit for the rotation over DeAndre Jordan when healthy. Jordan is reported to part ways with the Nets leading up to the new season and is gauging interest within the Los Angeles Lakers organization.