‘I’m Fully Cleared…To Return To The Rigors Of The NBA’: LaMarcus Aldridge’s Heart Is In Brooklyn

Brooklyn isn’t looking back at a 2020-21 season.

The Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving fell short of expectations. With a new season on the horizon, the Lakers aren’t the only championship favorite loading up on former All-Stars.

It’s back to business for this talented Nets group.

After retiring with heart concerns five months ago, reports say perennial All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge is returning to BK on a one-year, $2.6 million deal. 

Aldridge, 36, was medically cleared by several doctors — including Nets team doctors — to return for his 16th season.  The only reason Aldridge is lacing up again is to add a championship to his resume. Deep down, he understands that he could have been the difference in that Game 7 against the Bucks when KD was the only Nets player who could generate any offense.  

Back 2 Business In BK 

“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.”

You can just hear the rest of the league moaning right now, but it’s only right that the Nets and Steve Nash get a chance to run it back with a full roster.  There were analysts, fans and social media mouths that spoke out against the Nets signing of Aldridge. 

 

This time around, it’s more of a feel-good story because Aldridge is healthy and the Nets get another chance to crack the championship code.

Paul Milsap & Blake Griffin 

However, the recent signing of veteran and four-time All-Star Paul Milsap and the re-signing of former All-Star Blake Griffin quickly erases any sentimental support that Aldridge’s return may have briefly awarded the franchise.

The 36-year-old Millsap is a 6’7”, 255-pound, 15-year-veteran who can play both “big” positions. He definitely will compensate for Jeff Green who left the team in August to sign a two-year $10 million deal with the Denver Nuggets.

The Nets are fully loaded.

 

Fighting The Injury Bug 

Injuries caught up to the Brooklyn Nets last season and by the time they reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Kevin Durant was the only All-Star caliber player left.

The Big Three of KD, Kyrie, and James Harden were rolling through the league in the early part of the season. Most people were hard-pressed to find a team that could match Brooklyn’s offensive ability.

They had solid veteran support in Green and Aldridge, in addition to boasting three of the NBA’s Top 12 players,

Aldridge played just five games with the Nets, averaging 12.8 points and 4.4 rebounds while contributing to the effective execution of their freewheeling, juggernaut offense. Brooklyn appeared to have found the final championship piece in the former Portland Trail Blazers star.

After missing a few games due to what was initially termed an “illness,” Aldridge shocked the hoops world. He announced on Twitter that an irregular heartbeat would force him to retire from the league.  Aldridge claimed that the pain he felt after his last game was “one of the scariest things” he’s ever experienced. 

His departure was a serious blow to the Nets. Despite some wear and tear on his body Aldridge is still very effective.

The Nets were blessed to have a fourth option that’s a seven-time All-Star. Aldridge averages 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in his career with the Trail Blazers and Spurs. His lanky presence immediately made Brooklyn an unfair matchup for anyone in the league. 

Losing Jeff Green to a strained plantar fascia just six games into the playoffs didn’t help Brooklyn either. 

Barring major injury Brooklyn should be the favorite to come out of the East. With Aldridge back in the fold, they have equaled anything the Lakers have done this offseason. 

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Welcome back, LaMarcus Aldridge. The NBA season just took another unexpected turn. Vegas might be recalculating some things. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.