If Spurs put LaMarcus Aldridge on the market would Heat be interested?

San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge sits on the bench in the final minutes of the Spurs’ 136-100 loss to Golden State in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Two summers ago the Miami Heat met with LaMarcus Aldridge before the free agent power forward/center signed with San Antonio.

Now, after two seasons with the Spurs, Aldridge once again could be available.

The 6-foot-11 Aldridge signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Spurs in 2015. But he never really has fit in and trade rumors started a year ago after San Antonio lost in the conference semifinals and Aldridge’s numbers dropped from 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds his final season in Portland to 18.0 points and 8.5 boards his first in San Antonio.

And although San Antonio advanced to the conference finals this year before being swept by Golden State, the five-time All-Star’s numbers took another dip (17.3/7.3) and he didn’t exactly step up after San Antonio lost Kawhi Leonard during Game 1 of the Warriors series.

In the last three games against Golden State, when San Antonio needed Aldridge most with Leonard out, the 31-year-old averaged just 11.3 points on 38.5 percent shooting with 5.3 rebounds. Twice, he scored eight points with the Spurs’ season on the line.

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The result will be more trade speculation.  And while Aldridge remains one of the upper tier big men in the game, he may not be the fit the Spurs want, and San Antonio may be looking to unload his contract to free up cap space if they pursue Paul Millsap or Chris Paul.

Could the Heat then be in play?

Remember, Riley met with Aldridge in 2015 so there obviously was an interest then. But things have changed. Although Aldridge’s numbers declined some in San Antonio, that was expected playing with Leonard and Tony Parker. And although Aldridge denied reports he was unhappy playing second fiddle to Leonard, would he be a fit playing alongside center Hassan Whiteside? And what if Miami brought back Dion Waiters and gave him more freedom? Aldridge does run the floor very well and can shoot the mid-range jumper.

Also, Aldridge had an “occurrence of a minor heart arrhythmia” in March but was cleared to play and has been fine since.

If interested, the Heat might have a difficult time putting together a package the Spurs would accept. Whiteside is not going anywhere and the Spurs reportedly are interested in Paul or Kyle Lowry to take over for Tony Parker at the point, so Goran Dragic would not be a fit. Then it comes down to Miami’s young players, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson and the 14th pick (which Miami cannot trade but could make a prearranged deal and then pick the player San Antonio desires).

Additionally, acquiring Aldridge and his $20 million salary would mean the Heat would no longer need James Johnson but still would have enough money to sign Waiters and, depending on who is traded, another lower-level free agent.

The chances are slim, but if Riley believes Aldridge could fit in and push the Heat to another level you never know.

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