Portland Trail Blazers Rumors
During the presser, Olshey fired back in fierce denial, saying: I spoke with LaMarcus… I actually asked him, “how would you like me to address this?” And he said, “Just say it’s not true. You and I know where we are right now.” It was misreported. It’s not true. I can tell you he has not informed anybody in this organization of his intention not to return to the team. How much of this was true? According to our source, some…depending on perspective. Both sides knew at that point that Aldridge was gone. Olshey was painted into a corner, having to defend something that he couldn’t tell the whole story about. The source also shed some light on official procedure. Usually if you’re a pro about it, you place a phone call to the team you’re leaving first then you call the other team and accept. Olshey hadn’t received that official phone call.: 96 more rumors
Left to shoot in the dark, the Blazers publicized an alternate plan to attract Aldridge, a “Plan A” that combined their power forward with Detroit free agent Greg Monroe. People were chuckling at that idea, and how quickly he ended up in Milwaukee.
Integrating any new major piece takes time, toil and patience. Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers, who struggled to adapt to the arrivals of All-Stars LeBron James and Kevin Love early last season. Aldridge’s game, built on post-ups and mid-range jumpers, can at times lend itself to ball stoppage, a no-no in Popovich’s world. “He’s used to being the man, and he’s going to kind of get out of that mode,” one Eastern Conference coach said.
What emerges might be an amalgam of the “beautiful game” offense the Spurs rode to the 2014 NBA title and the Tim Duncan-centric offense that led to championships before that, this time with Aldridge at the core. “He’ll fit into their offense really well,” one Eastern Conference scout said. “He’ll be very good in what they do. It will be so easy for them it’s not even funny.”
This just in: They never had a shot at LaMarcus Aldridge, which insiders knew for months. Even if he talked to them, and six other teams, his likeliest destination all along was San Antonio. Coming of a 21-61 season, they had little more chance at getting DeAndre Jordan or Kevin Love to play alongside old Kobe Bryant, young Jordan Clarkson and unproven D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.: 96 more rumors
Aldridge and Lillard are no different. Was Aldridge jealous of Lillard at times, probably so, but teammates consistently told CSNNW.com that there was never any friction between the two, certainly not on Lillard’s behalf. The 24-year-old point guard went out of his way to acknowledge Aldridge as the captain of the Blazers on many occasions.
But it was also discovered that Aldridge was at the point of his career where championships really started to matter, not money. Allen once recalled the disappointment Aldridge felt after Seagoville fell in the Class 4A state tournament before he departed to the University of Texas. Said Allen, “I’ve never seen a player cry as hard as LaMarcus did.”
Flush with about $25 million in cap space, the Trail Blazers are in the market for wings and backup point guards, and The Oregonian/Oregonlive.com has learned at least one player Portland is looking at is veteran wing Rasual Butler. According to a source, Butler has been offered a contract, but is in no hurry to sign, as he mulls other interest from teams, which includes San Antonio and Golden State.
Another potential free agent wing – Gerald Green – has not been contacted by the Blazers, according to another source. The 29-year-old Green averaged 11.9 points last season for Phoenix, one year after averaging 15.8 points for the Suns.
Damian Lillard: Was an honor to carry the #FlameOfHope for the @SpecialOlympics #UnifiedRelay in #RipCity yesterday. #PassTheFlame http://t.co/R7a0NPY5JM
Jason Quick: Source says Butler can sign with the Blazers if he wants, but is in no hurry to make a decision
Lillard had wanted to coordinate the timing of a meeting before leaving town, but Aldridge, understandably, was slow to respond. He had a second meeting with the Lakers to focus on that night, then a meeting with the Miami Heat and team president Pat Riley. There were extensive text messages shared between Aldridge and Lillard in what constituted a modern-day conversation, and the message was made quite clear by the time Friday night rolled around: whether the Spurs or the Phoenix Suns, Lillard was convinced Aldridge was gone. None of which is to say Aldridge made a bad choice; in fact, going to the Spurs is a tremendous choice. This combination of top-tier talent both young (Leonard, Aldridge, Danny Green) and old (Duncan, Tony Parker and perhaps Manu Ginobili) is as tantalizing as any we’ve seen, and the Golden State Warriors surely know their title defense just got a whole lot harder.
A few minutes ago, I received the following from Aldridge: Dear Rip City, Thank you! Those two words on a page don’t begin to express the gratitude I have for the opportunity the entire Trail Blazers organization, my teammates, the media, and you fans gave me. The past nine years have been a blessing, and I will take all of the valuable memories with me as I head back home.
Aldridge: As I’m sure you can respect, my decision was a very personal one but not one I took lightly. Although I will be wearing a different uniform the next time I come back to Portland, please know that I will always hold my time in a Blazers uniform near and dear to my heart. Your friend, LA
For years, the rumblings that Aldridge wasn’t happy with his place in the Portland spotlight were always there. First it was Brandon Roy stealing his thunder, then Greg Oden before his ill-fated fall, and then this young and dynamic talent named Damian Lillard whose star rose far too quickly for Aldridge’s liking. All along the way, the complaints that would rarely, if ever, come directly from Aldridge himself were consistent: one way or another, intentional or not, he felt underappreciated – if not disrespected. He wanted top billing.
But the challenging part for the Blazers folks who tried so hard through the years to understand him is that Aldridge’s understated ways made it nearly impossible to satisfy this request. He routinely turned down interviews, or didn’t maximize off-court opportunities of which Lillard would take full advantage. He is known as the private type, the kind of player and person who prefers to play his game and let someone else handle the lion’s share of the leadership duties. Except, of course, until someone does just that, reaps the benefits of it and kickstarts the cycle of jealousy that had everything to do with his departure.
Lillard, upon return from a promotional trip in Paris, was hoping to pull off some fourth-quarter heroics on Thursday night. He started planning a trip via charter plane to Los Angeles, a sit-down to meet with Aldridge and try to work it all out. But the trip never happened because, well, it was already too late. Lillard had wanted to coordinate the timing of a meeting before leaving town, but Aldridge, understandably, was slow to respond. He had a second meeting with the Lakers to focus on that night, then a meeting with the Miami Heat and team president Pat Riley. There were extensive text messages shared between Aldridge and Lillard in what constituted a modern-day conversation, and the message was made quite clear by the time Friday night rolled around: whether the Spurs or the Phoenix Suns, Lillard was convinced Aldridge was gone.
Jabari Young: With all the #Sixers big men…maybe Kim Hughes can land on his feet in my hometown Philly. Kim was cool. Bad mistake, paid a price #Blazers
Trail Blazers assistant coach Kim Hughes has been fired by the team, The Oregonian/Oregonlive has learned, days after his comments to an Indiana television station about the future of free agent LaMarcus Aldridge went viral. NBA.com was the first with knowledge of the move and The Oregonian confirmed it. “We can confirm Mr. Hughes is no longer with the team,” Neil Olshey, Blazers president of basketball operations, said on Saturday. “It is our policy to otherwise refrain from commenting on personnel matters.” Hughes, who has been the Blazers’ big man coach for the past three seasons, told WTHI television that Aldridge was leaving the Blazers in free agency, which enraged team officials, who said Hughes had no knowledge of the team’s free agent proceedings. The Terre Haute, Ind., station was interviewing Hughes while he was at a camp held by Blazers forward Meyers Leonard in Leonard’s hometown of Robinson, Ill. “Well, people don’t realize we just went young,” Hughes said in the interview. “We didn’t publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge. It hasn’t been declared yet, but I’m sure he won’t come back. We will go young.”
After his final game, I stood beside Aldridge in the visiting locker room in Memphis. the media scrum broke. The cameras were gone. He was holding three cellular telephones he carries, two of them he told me don’t even work. They just hold music he likes. There was just a somber feeling about the whole thing, as if this was some kind of ending. He’d rented that house owned by Damon Stoudamire in West Linn all season. He gave notice to his landlord the following day. Neighbors say Aldridge moved out within 72 hours of that loss, and his belongings were shipped to Texas.
I wrote a column two seasons ago about Portland potentially alienating Aldridge by going too far with the Lillard-palooza. Aldridge reached and out told me how much he liked the column. The Blazers decided prior to last season that they’d spend Aldridge’s final season under contract celebrating his milestones, pitching him as the all-time Mr. Trail Blazer.
To their credit, Aldridge and Lillard worked well enough together on the court. They’re both too intelligent and socially aware to take their philosophical differences public. But they were co-workers, and not great friends. Those deeply entrenched in both camps told me on multiple occasions, basketball aside, that the two men were not huge fans of each other. Which only makes Lillard’s inability to get a face-to-face sit-down with Aldridge in that 11th hour trip to Los Angeles less shocking.
Jabari Young: BTW, informed LaMarcus Aldridge came to his decision last night. Hours after meeting with Popovich again #Spurs #Blazers