Add to Cart: Aldridge’s return provides Nets more depth

Published September 10, 2021, 11:00 AMRenee Ticzon

After getting cleared from his heart concerns, LaMarcus Aldridge came out of retirement for another stint with the Nets.

How many times have you received a package from Shopee or Lazada and had no recollection of what you bought and when and why you bought it? Add to Cart is a series on some of the low-key moves and underrated deals that NBA teams made during this offseason that fans might have overlooked or forgotten. The first installment featured the Lakers' signing of Kendrick Nunn.

The Deal

LaMarcus Aldridge retired from the NBA during the latter part of last season due to a heart condition. The 35-year-old had an irregular heartbeat that was later diagnosed as Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome but has received medical clearance to return.

"I retired in April based on what I believed was the wisest precautionary decision for my personal health at the time, but further testing and evaluation by several top physicians has convinced the doctors, myself, and the Nets that I'm fully cleared and able to return to the rigors of the NBA," Aldridge told ESPN in a statement. "I loved my brief time with Brooklyn and am excited to rejoin the team in pursuit of a championship."

This offseason, Aldridge came out of retirement to suit up again for the Brooklyn Nets on a one-year, $2.6 million deal.

The Steal

Not long ago, Aldridge was earning over $20 million with the San Antonio Spurs. So for the Nets, signing him last season to a veteran’s minimum deal felt a little too good to be true. 

Now that he’s back in Brooklyn, he adds more depth to an already stacked Nets lineup. This frontcourt should look interesting with Aldridge reuniting with Blake Griffin after only a five-game stint last season. Plus, the addition of Paul Millsap, a steady veteran who was recently acquired from the Denver Nuggets.

Let’s be reminded, though, that having Aldridge back won’t mean a championship for Brooklyn. His presence adds depth to the roster which was quite a problem last year.

Given the amount of talent the Nets hoarded last season, they struggled because the injuries to their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving kept them from reaching their peak, eventually causing them a solid chance to reach the NBA Finals.

Having a deeper bench means head coach Steve Nash will have a bigger pool of talent to play around with, relieving some pressure off the other rotation players.

The Value

Aldridge already spent some time in Brooklyn so adjusting to his teammates shouldn’t be a problem. He’s part of a team that wants to contend for a chip in the loaded Eastern Conference, giving him the best chance of winning a title before retiring from the league.

The only question is: will he stay healthy enough to make it to the end? His heart condition will keep him on the team’s medical staff’s radar for the rest of his career. The best-case scenario for Brooklyn is if Aldridge performs well even if he isn’t at a hundred percent. Fortunately for him and the Nets, he doesn’t need to go all out.

The Nets don’t need him to dominate the paint like Blazers Aldridge or Spurs Aldridge did some seasons ago. They just need the same guy they had last season who gave solid numbers (12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists) in the five games he played. If Aldridge can hit those numbers consistently, then that $2.6 million deal would be worth every single penny for the Nets.