Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked what helped to bring about LaMarcus Aldridge’s resurgence: “When he said, ‘I want to be traded.’ It’s as simple as that. I said, ‘Woah, nobody’s ever said that to me before.’ It’s my 20-whatever year, and nobody’s ever said that like, ‘I’m not enjoying this. I’m not confident. I’m not sure you want me here. I want to be traded.’”
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Popovich was asked if that conversation took place after the season. “Yes, yes. I thought that’s already been public? So, we had some dinners and meetings and laughed. I was very candid with him. I told him, ‘I’d be happy to trade you. You get me a talent like Kevin Durant, and I’ll drive you to the airport. I’ll pack your bags. And I will drive you there, get you on the plane, and get you seated.’
Gregg Popovich: “As discussions went on, it became apparent to me that it really was me. He’s been playing in the league for nine years. I’m not going to turn him into some other player. I could do some things defensively or rebounding-wise. But on offense, I was going to move him everywhere. That was just silly on my part. Total overcoaching. So, we took care of it, and he’s been fantastic.”
Aldridge has had an up-and-down tenure with the Spurs across his two seasons since signing as a free agent from Portland. San Antonio did discuss trade scenarios with teams centered on Aldridge in this off season, league sources said. At times, Aldridge hasn’t been happy with the franchise, and the franchise hasn’t been happy with him. Nevertheless, Aldridge arrived into training camp in strong shape and with a better relationship with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Both sides understand that the uncertainty of free agency next summer could make an extension a wise option.
LaMarcus Aldridge wants his mystery fan to know he’s appreciative of a recent billboard created in his honor. “I’ve seen it, but I don’t know where it came from,” said Aldridge before the Spurs played the Sacramento Kings in a preseason game Friday evening. “I have nothing to do with it. … But it was cool.”
“I like it,” Aldridge said. “I appreciate it, especially after the summer with everything (trade rumors) that was going around. So, I’m thankful for whoever done it. I want to say thank you because I actually like it.” The Spurs did not grant permission for Aldridge’s image to be displayed on the billboard, but the team has no plans to request the photo be removed.
Melissa Rohlin: Aldridge on trade rumors: “I don’t take it personal anymore.”
ESPN’s Marc Stein first reported that the Spurs are attempting to create salary-cap flexibility to pursue Chris Paul this summer, and a combo acquisition of the Clippers’ All-Star point guard and Iguodala has been discussed internally, sources say. The Spurs have made LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green available for trades, according to sources.
Tom Orsborn: Buford when asked if Aldridge asked for trade: “We are happy with the group we have. If we can make it better, we will do it.” #Spurs
Jason Quick: Update: Source indicates no way Aldridge to Portland will happen.
According to a person with knowledge of the Spurs forward’s situation, it’s the 31-year-old’s unhappiness in San Antonio that is the driving force behind the Spurs’ trade talks on Thursday. The five-time All-Star, according to the person, is hopeful that San Antonio can find a better fit for his talents.
According to a person with knowledge of the Suns’ situation, it appears unlikely that Aldridge is Phoenix-bound anytime soon. While the Suns have the No. 4 pick and could likely put a package together to appease the Spurs, the person said there was “nothing there.”
Sean Deveney: Asked a GM abt LaMarcus Aldridge trade value. Said, “Fact he wants out of San Antonio says a lot about whether you want him on your team.”
Marc Stein: Any team trading for LaMarcus Aldridge has to know it can re-sign him. Which surely hampers San Antonio’s efforts to acquire a top-10 pick
RJ Marquez: ESPN @Ramona Shelburne just said #Spurs having ‘conversations’ about possible Aldridge/Danny Green deals, SA/Chris Paul interest remains high pic.twitter.com/SJ8PZBo6n3
As the Spurs investigate ways to trade up in today’s draft, an interesting name as surfaced as a potential ticket into the lottery: LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs have spoken to a handful of teams attempting to find a trade partner in a deal involving the five-time All-Star, league sources say. The asking price for Aldridge is steep. The Spurs would like to move into the top 10.
The San Antonio Spurs, in pursuit of a top-10 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, have spoken to at least three teams about a possible trade involving power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, sources confirmed to ESPN. Signed to an $84 million contract in 2015 as the club’s most significant acquisition in free agency, Aldridge received widespread criticism for his play in the 2017 postseason, as he averaged a career-low 16.5 points per game in the playoffs along with career lows in player efficiency rating (15.2) and blocks (1.0).
As for his level of contentment, Aldridge — who reminds skeptics how the Spurs won a franchise-record 67 games in his first season there before falling to Oklahoma City in the second round — swears there’s nothing to see here. “That’s just media,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “And that’s why I don’t get into it. The organization is happy with me, and I’m happy with them, and as long as we keep a good relationship then everything is fine.
“That’s just media,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “And that’s why I don’t get into it. The organization is happy with me, and I’m happy with them, and as long as we keep a good relationship then everything is fine. It’s been great. My family is closer (to him in Texas than when he was in Portland). I’m closer to home (Dallas), and I’m in California during the summer (Newport Beach) so it’s just nice being in Texas year-round now.”
Adrian Wojnarowski on why the rumors about LaMarcus Aldridge’s future started in San Antonio: “I don’t know where that’s coming from. They’re in a ‘win now” mindset. … I’m not sure he’s ever really happy. He’s not happy in Portland because he doesn’t have a supporting cast. Then, they draft an All-Star point guard and he’s not happy…”
Tom Orsborn: Aldridge said no one from #Spurs has talked to him about trade rumors, nor has he asked: “This team is 1st class. I’d have known already.”
To address this rumor, LaMarcus Aldridge appeared on The Jim Rome Show to talk about the report and squashed it immediately. Aldridge said he is not buying into the rumor, citing he is happy in San Antonio, likes he is part of the on-the-court leadership with Kawhi Leonard, and is enjoying the winning culture. “I didn’t buy into it. I haven’t heard anything about it. I talked to Pop (head coach Gregg Popovich) daily and he’s always telling me that I’m doing great,” Aldridge said. “Trying to be a more of a leader. He’s put me in positions where I can be more of a leader. As long as the guys here aren’t saying bad things to me. All my teammates have said nothing but great things to me.”
LaMarcus Aldridge: “I’m winning. Of course I’m happy. That’s why I don’t buy into the rumors. I feel like I do my job here and I feel like I’ve done everything that they’ve asked. That’s why I haven’t bought into the rumors.”
Asked if the rumors are a distraction for the Spurs as they prepare for Friday’s preseason finale against the Houston Rockets, Gasol said, “Not at all. It hasn’t been brought up or anything. But it’s weird.” Gasol said it helps that the players learned long ago to focus only on what they can control. “Some things are completely out of your control,” he said. “I always say, you control what you can control. You control what’s in your hands. Wake up with a smiling face, go to work and feel blessed. You have an incredible job. If stuff happens because people make certain decisions about you, this is a business at the end of the day, and you just continue to do what you do and be who you are. Don’t let that affect your daily routine. Don’t let that affect your behavior. Just continue to be true to yourself and control what you can control.”
When Aldridge opted to sign with the Spurs, he was led to believe he’d be the future of the franchise in much the way Tim Duncan took the mantle from David Robinson. The belief was that Aldridge would spend a year learning the “Spurs’ way” and would then lead the team forward with Kawhi Leonard as his wingman. That was the plan as Aldridge’s camp understood it. That is not how it’s playing out. Leonard has emerged as the better fit as “the franchise player” and Aldridge is being pushed into the No. 2 role (and sometimes No. 3) depending on how the Spurs play. Leonard finished second in Most Valuable Player voting last season.
This has become a source of frustration, mainly because the Spurs are not going to be the championship contender Aldridge thought he was joining and he won’t be the focal-point guy who becomes an All-Star. The other part, according to those around the situation, is that Gregg Popovich isn’t coddling him or treating him like the primary guy. Not that Aldridge requires that, but it’s becoming clear that he may not be the guy the Spurs thought he’d be.
Sources close to the situation say that there has been zero talk of trading Aldridge and that any suggestion of the Spurs being open to it is misplaced. But what those around the situation are seeing (and talking about) is that the honeymoon for both the Spurs and Aldridge is clearly over. Both sides were open to the learning process the first year, but now both sides seem to want the other to deliver on their end of the promise.
Those close to the situation suggest Aldridge may not be happy at the moment. The belief is the Spurs pitched him on becoming the center of their offense when they recruited him in 2015, and that hasn’t occurred with the rise of Kawhi Leonard. However, a team source said there are currently no problems with Aldridge, adding he is apart of the Spurs’ future.
In the start of year two, it appears the LaMarcus Aldridge experiment in San Antonio is in danger of collapsing. The Express-News has been informed by a league source the Spurs are open to trading the former Longhorn should the right package surface. Those within the Spurs refuted the suggestion, saying no talks have occurred with any team.
This isn’t the first time rumors surrounding Aldridge’s future with San Antonio have surfaced. Last season, there were rumblings in NBA circles that Aldridge wanted to be traded before the All-Star break, maybe to a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Spurs didn’t bite, though, won 67 games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
I’m doing what I can to confirm these, and will update this story as soon as I’m able. In the meanwhile, we’re left wondering what exactly might be going wrong. UPDATE: I heard back from my Spurs source, and the team denies Jackie MacMullan’s report.
Some in NBA circles speculate Aldridge may not be with the Spurs by the end of his deal, which runs through the end of next season, with a player option worth roughly $22 million for the 2018-19 season.
Jeff McDonald: FWIW, Spurs sources are denying trade talks involving LaMarcus Aldridge have taken place.
The Boston Celtics are in a position to trade for a player of Aldridge’s caliber, should he become available, due to the value of the players on their roster and future picks. “Sources were telling me the other day that LaMarcus Aldridge may not even finish the year with the Spurs. That experiment hasn’t quite worked out the way they’d hoped. I think there’s going to be a lot of shifting around. That (Nets) pick is going to be very, very valuable,” said Jackie Macmullen.
The odds are against any deal happening. Signing Gasol to a two-year deal (with a player option for 2017-18) is something of an all-in move, and even if Gasol opts out after this season, the Aldridge-Leonard combo is a shiny lure for free agents. But if the season unfolds the wrong way, here’s betting the Spurs at least listen.
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April 19, 2018 | 11:00 pm EDT Update
Chris Mannix: With Mike Budenholzer withdrawing from consideration in Phoenix (per @Adrian Wojnarowski), look for Steve Clifford to interview at some point. Mutual interest, source told @The Vertical.
Manny Navarro: Embiid on his block exchange with Winslow: “It felt great. When he blocked me I didn’t say anything. Good for him. He talked a lot. On the other end, I got him back. You don’t really want to talk trash to me. I’m glad I got him back.”
Jon Johnson: Joel Embiid on Winslow breaking mask:”Little do they know I have about 50 of them. It’s going to take much more than that to get me out of this series. I’m going to be a nightmare for them too.”
Sarah Todd: “We’re not here to make friends we’re here to win a series.” Joel Embiid after saying he’s glad Dario scored late with a lead because he didn’t feel like Dragic got enough “shit” after he did the same in Game 2.
April 19, 2018 | 10:39 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has withdrawn from consideration for the Phoenix Suns head coaching job, league sources tell ESPN.