When seven-time All-Star and likely future Hall of Famer LaMarcus Aldridge was bought out by the San Antonio Spurs last month and joined the star-studded Brooklyn Nets, the SportsLine Projection Model immediately improved the Nets' chances of winning their first NBA title from 19.7 percent to 24.7 percent. However, in a Thursday stunner Aldridge announced he was retiring immediately for health reasons. The Nets remain +250 title favorites at William Hill Sportsbook.
Aldridge had missed the past couple of games with what was being called a non-COVID illness. He revealed that when he last played on April 10 he did so while dealing with an irregular heartbeat: "Though I'm better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I've experienced."
In a statement released Thursday, Aldridge said: "For 15 years, I've put basketball first and now, it's time to put my health and family first. You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it every day. I can truly say I did just that."
Nets GM Sean Marks on Aldridge's retirement: "The Nets organization fully supports LaMarcus' decision, and while we value what he has brought to our team, his health and well-being are far more important than the game of basketball."
In five games with the Nets, Aldridge had taken over as the starting center and averaged 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Brooklyn was 3-2 in those games. Presumably, this news means DeAndre Jordan will be back in the rotation.
Aldridge, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft, finishes his career having averaged 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in 1,029 games. He ranks 47th all-time in scoring with 19,951 points.
Aldridge made five All-NBA teams since 2010-11 (two second teams, three third teams). The other nine players to make at least five in that span are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Blake Griffin (Durant, Harden and Griffin are now all on the Nets), Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Damian Lillard. Since Aldridge was drafted, he and LeBron are the only two players in the NBA with 19,000+ points and 8,000+ rebounds.
The Nets had been the first team in NBA history to acquire during a season three players with five or more All-Star selections – Harden, Griffin and Aldridge. Brooklyn is next in action Friday at home vs. Charlotte.
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