The toughest thing about trading LaMarcus back to Portland has to be making the money work. A straight-up swap of Hassan Whiteside and LaMarcus isn’t nearly enough in terms of compensation but also in how effective the compensation could be long term. Meaning, Whiteside is in a contract year, and with a weak free-agent class of 2020, he could be in for a huge payday.
The Spurs can use this opportunity to spring open some minutes for other guys, considering they have an abundance of guards who have proven to be what they are at this stage of their careers and the way the current season has gone
Portland needs scoring, especially two-point scoring. Rip City ranks 23rd in two-point field goal percentage, 22nd in field-goal percentage, while also ranking 14th in offensive efficiency. After signing Carmelo Anthony, the Blazers’ offense needs juice, and LaMarcus Aldridge can come in and provide some
This deal benefits both parties. Hassan is better in the pick & roll than Aldridge. He has a higher scoring frequency than LaMarcus as well as both better field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage as the roll man. Whiteside has also posted better offensive and defensive ratings this season than LaMarcus has.
Whiteside has proven to be a dominant rebounder throughout his career. He’s averaging 12 rebounds a game this season in under 28 minutes a night, with nine double-doubles through 15 starts. His defensive ability has fallen off a bit since his All-Defensive nod back in 2016, but at times Hassan can be seen to be a stout rim protector.
The first-round pick is included to provide some sort of insurance because there’s a high probability that Whiteside would be a 60 game rental on the season. With little to no chance of keeping him past 2019-2020, the only way this deal gets done is if a pick is included.
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For the Blazers, they get the player their offense needs. When Jusuf Nurkic comes back, the Blazers could pair him with Aldridge for a dominant one-two punch down low. Additionally, having LaMarcus available would allow Portland to bring Nurkic back slowly. His injury is not one that players recover from easily and it could take him a while to get his legs back underneath him.
Nurkic has proven to be a relatively versatile defender for his size. Adding another big who can shoulder a little defensive load, but provide much-needed offense from the mid-range would only benefit Portland. The Blazers run a lot of pick and roll in their offense and use their bigs a lot in terms of being a ball-handler at the elbow off of short-roll opportunities. Inserting LaMarcus in that spot could help this team out immensely.
The Spurs would include Marco as somewhat of a filler in the deal, as the veteran has had a down year, to say the least. Portland could use his shooting, and there won’t be much pressure on Beli due to him likely being the 9th or 10th man on the rotation. With him coming in and playing when needed, Marco can also benefit from the variety of fake flare screens that transition into stop and go backdoor cut. He hasn’t been shooting great is still a somewhat effective slasher.
Lastly, sending Marco to Portland opens up much needed minutes for San Antonio’s younger players. The Spurs could use up the 18 minutes Marco was getting a night, and transition it into more minutes for guys like DeMarre Carroll, Lonnie Walker, and others.
I don’t want LaMarcus gone, but if the season becomes lost, at least send him back to the place he once called home.