In a surprising outcome, the 35-year-old Aldridge picked the Nets as his next destination two days after completing a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs, as reported Saturday by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
How will Aldridge fit a Brooklyn roster that is already integrating post-buyout pickup Blake Griffin? And what does Aldridge's decision to sign with the Nets rather than the Miami Heat, widely considered front-runners, mean for the rest of the buyout market? Let's break it down.
Brooklyn frontcourt getting crowded with big names
Adding Aldridge solidifies the Nets as one of the most star-studded rosters in NBA history. Combining Aldridge's seven All-Star appearances with 11 for Kevin Durant, nine for James Harden, seven for Kyrie Irving, six for Griffin and one for DeAndre Jordan gives Brooklyn a total of 41 on the roster, the most since the 2013-14 Heat (also 41). Only the Boston Celtics in 2010-11 (56) and 2011-12 (43) have surpassed that total since the NBA-ABA merger.
Of course, there's a big distinction between the Nets' three current All-Stars, all of them playing at peak levels, and the newcomers. Like Griffin, Aldridge was last an All-Star in 2019 and fell out of his previous team's plans this season. That was more surprising in Aldridge's case because the Spurs are in the playoff hunt. (At 22-20, the Spurs would enter the play-in tournament in eighth position if the season ended today.) San Antonio simply decided Jakob Poeltl was a better option at center, an indicator of how Aldridge's game has eroded in his mid-30s.