Everyone knew that LaMarcus Aldridge would be one of the main focal points of free agency from the moment the season ended just weeks ago. What many people didn’t imagine is that his name would come about in the likes of multiple teams once deemed unable to sign Aldridge.
Now, after one day of free agency in the books, we have to wonder just exactly how Aldridge himself is viewing his decision.
Multiple reports from earlier today are suggesting that the two most prominent landing spots for the power
forward are San Antonio and Phoenix. The Lakers have lost their edge in the race for Aldridge, and all signs are pointing to him eventually signing with another team in the West.
Let’s face it; LaMarcus Aldridge clearly isn’t in it for the money. If he were, then his obvious choice would be to remain in Portland, where he can receive a 5th year on his contract and also much more money annually. Many sources are alluding to him not even considering the possibility of staying with the team that he has been with for many years. That being said, he still is looking for marketability and a chance to remain on a contending team.
San Antonio’s offer is pure and simple; Aldridge would have his best chance to instantly help a team win and contend for many years to come-and he knows just that. However, he would have to be accepting a reduced role than he is used to in his prior situation on the Trail Blazers. This would include less touches each game, less of his isolation opportunities in the 15-foot range we are all so used to seeing him get, and honestly much more pick-and-roll situations. He would certainly not be expected to amass the same statistical achievements that he previously has, simply because less would be required of him as an individual offensively. We would not be watching the same LaMarcus Aldridge that totaled 23.4 PPG and 10.2 RPG in the 2014-15 season. This would obviously be a major adjustment for him and would require him to adapt to the Alamo City’s “system” that has allowed them to hoist five trophies in the Duncan Era.
Phoenix offers a much more interesting approach to targeting Aldridge. They have youth in their favor. While they may not have a Kawhi Leonard to pair with LMA in the front court, they do offer promise with multiple younger players. Not only do they present explosive guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, but they also have recently-signed Tyson Chandler to team up with Aldridge and provide a much needed defensive presence. Many people were skeptical about the defensive burden that would be put on Aldridge if he was to choose the Suns, yet the addition of Chandler will hopefully be the answer to their previous defensive struggles. The Suns ranked 27th in defensive efficiency this past season, and a large majority of this was due to their lack of a true big man to protect the paint.
For LaMarcus Aldridge there will be many options to weigh. We also must note that other potential teams such as the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets will have much to offer the Texas native before he eventually comes to his decision. The ideas of championship possibilities, young talent to surround him with, long-term money, and other promising situations will surely make this offseason a very interesting one for Aldridge as the world patiently awaits the announcement of where he will go.