By Matt Stevenson
April 24, 2015
LaMarcus Aldridge is possibly the most under-rated star the NBA has seen is recent times. Leading the Portland Trail Blazers since 2006, Aldridge has revitalized the franchise and have become a post season threat to any playoff team.
But Aldridge is a free agent after this season and his unhappiness with the organization is being reported by numerous sources. Also, look at how awful this team looks against the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs so far.
Despite the rumors this season and last season as well (Blazers were rumored to be offering up Aldridge last season) LaMarcus has repeatedly voiced his desire to stay in Portland… Except we haven’t heard that lately.
A Texas native and a Texas University alum, the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs are the two teams that may actually have the money to land him. It was recently reported that San Antonio might even already be discussing a free agent meeting with him.
Why would Aldridge want to leave though?
Wesley Matthews and Nic Batum are quality players for any team in this league and have both proven their value as shooters and defenders. But Robin Lopez is too inconsistent to be a starter on a championship team and Meyers Leonard is questionable to be on any team. Aldridge’s help down low is awful in the paint, and he is solely relied upon by his teammates to defend and attack in the post.
But hold on, what about Damian Lillard? This is where I believe it gets sticky.
Aldridge has worked his ass off for the Blazers organization ever since he came as a rookie, and has put up with the injuries of Greg Oden and Brandon Roy and mediocre replacements they paired him with… while still some how posting winning records.
The Portland Trail Blazers this season made it obvious that Damian Lillard is who they want to be the face of the franchise. Although maybe more flashy and fun to watch than a post-dominant player like Aldridge, Lillard came into a team that had a set starting lineup in Matthews, Batum, Aldridge and Lopez. He meshed in great and easy with his skill-set, but he should’ve with such a good group of guys around him.
There should be no doubt that Aldridge is upset with this because it has always been HIS team until now. Lillard has whoa’d the NBA fans and, more importantly, the men wearing suits in the Portland Trail Blazers front office.
Tony Parker staying put, the Spurs also have nice depth, and of course Kawhi Leonard coming into a contract year as well. It’s a great situation for both the Spurs and Aldridge if they can afford to pair Kawhi and LaMarcus. Of course, big questions revolve around Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan regarding their possible retirements. The thought of not having to pay income taxes and returning to his home town of Texas is nice too.
The Trail Blazers had a great run but treating a star like Aldridge they way they have in order to get the younger, fresher Lillard’s brand famous is not the way to handle that situation. I predict LaMarcus Aldridge will bolt Portland for San Antonio during NBA Free Agency this summer and the Spurs will , yet again, have a great 10-year future as a league powerhouse.