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The Los Angeles Lakers are suddenly becoming an attractive destination for top tier talent again.
Already being linked to a possible trade with the Sacramento Kings for DeMarcus Cousins, the Lakers now appear to be passing the Dallas Mavericks on a list of possible destinations for power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Citing league sources, Stein reports that the Portland Trail Blazers' deal to send Nicolas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday was an indication of the team's growing belief it will lose Aldridge in free agency.
"He's gone," a source close to Aldridge said. "There's a 99.9 percent chance that he's out of Portland."
Aldridge, a four-time All-Star who averaged better than 23 points and 10 rebounds this season, is reportedly considering a future with either the Lakers, Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, or Atlanta Hawks, according to ESPN's Stein and Chris Broussard, with the Cleveland Cavaliers considered a long-shot candidate in the event they can execute a sign-and-trade involving Kevin Love, who opted out of his contract Wednesday.
The Spurs reportedly remain the favorites to land Aldridge, however.
The 29-year-old Texas native has spent his entire nine-year NBA career in Portland since the Blazers acquired him in a draft night trade in 2006, after the Chicago Bulls had selected him second overall.