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.
April 21, 2021 | 9:01 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: Two more injury updates (unfortunately): The Raptors say Chris Boucher (left knee sprain) will not return against Brooklyn. The Wizards say Deni Avdija (right ankle injury) is out for the rest of the game against Golden State.
The Blazers had arranged for Powell to rent the vacant house of former player Kent Bazemore, located on the banks of Lake Oswego. And inside the home, Powell found it was stocked with all his favorite necessities, from a California King size bed and big screen TV, right down to the lavender-scented laundry detergent and Welch’s Berries-N-Cherries fruit snacks. The organization even arranged for a service to drive his two Pomeranian Huskies — Apollo and Odin — from Tampa to Portland. Waiting for them were dog beds filled with toys. “It was amazing,” Powell said. “And I mean, AMAZING. They went all out. They did everything you can think of to make sure that I’m comfortable.”
Much of the personal detail was made with Powell’s impending free agency this summer in mind. “We have a very brief time to make a strong and lasting impression on Norman,” said Neil Olshey, the Blazers’ president of basketball operations. “That doesn’t just mean on the basketball court, but also for life off the court for himself and his family.”
Not a day went by, it seemed, that Raymond wasn’t molding Norman through his actions or his words. Norman remembers pouting one day: he felt his mother didn’t live up to an agreement to give him a reward for completing a task. As he complained, Norman kept repeating “she owes me.” Raymond set him straight. “He told me, ‘Your mother doesn’t owe you anything. She gave you life and makes sure you have food on the table and your needs are met. She doesn’t owe you; you owe her everything,’” Norman recalls. “He always found different moments in my life to instill what my mindset should be.”
Mostly, though, Raymond sparked Norman’s love for basketball, and more importantly, the need to work at the craft. They watched Lakers games together, and when Norman began to separate himself as exceptional in youth basketball, Raymond gave him a nickname. “I remember always watching games with him, and he told me I would be one of those players who would be called upon to make big shots,” Norman said. “That’s where my nickname ‘Big Shot Powell’ came from. I think he got it from Chauncey Billups. But he’s the reason why I started playing basketball the way I did, the reason why I believed in myself that I could get to that (NBA) level.”
As Raymond underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Norman became one of his caregivers, walking to his home after school, or after basketball practice. He helped him into the shower. He coaxed him out of bed and encouraged him to move around. And as he watched Raymond’s body begin to wilt from the treatments, he looked for high protein meals. “He was like a nurse,” said Sharon, Norman’s mother and Raymond’s sister. “I was so proud of Norman stepping in and helping.”