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May 31st, 2016, 3:26am
LaMarcus Aldridge tells Portland Trail Blazers he is leaving the team

LaMarcus Aldridge is leaving the Portland Trail Blazers. The frustrating news for Blazers fans seems to be official, as sources close to Aldridge state that he has already told the organization that he is leaving in free agency. According to a report from Yahoo! Sports on Thursday (June 25), the relationship between the All Star power forward and the front office in Portland had deteriorated over the past year. Now he will become one of the prized free agents available during the NBA offseason.

Aldridge had his best season with the Blazers last year, averaging 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. It didn't lead to postseason success, though, which could be one of the reasons he is leaving the team. A lot was placed on his shoulders when the Blazers played the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2015 NBA Playoffs, but he just couldn't carry the team through all the injuries.

It's unclear what the next step is going to be for Aldridge, as there are a lot of other teams that are ready to pursue him in free agency. The Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers have all expressed some form of interest in the big man. He is from Dallas, so a return there would make sense, but the bright lights of Los Angeles could also be very alluring.

This is where the front office of the Portland Trail Blazers needs to work hard on constructing a sign and trade deal with another franchise. That would get Aldridge the most money possible, and it would make sure  to agree to that as a free agent, so he could simply walk away and leave Rip City in the rearview mirror. The next step for Portland may not be an exciting one for Blazers fans, as a rebuilding process may have just begun.
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