Does Aldridge Stay in Rip City?
Is LaMarcus Aldridge looking towards greener pastures?
It's no secret that the Portland Trail Blazers will have an active and, potentially, team-changing off-season.
Five players are hitting the market as unrestricted free agents, including Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez. Furthermore, there's every indication that Arron Afflalo will opt out of his contract in search of a better situation.
Aldridge, the cornerstone of the Blazers franchise for the past few years, has weathered multiple rebuilding efforts, seen Brandon Roy’s career rise and fall, and been through numerous frustrating periods within this organization. With Damian Lillard’s ascension as one of the league's top-tier point guards, the team finally seemed to be gaining stability. Two 50-win seasons as well as a couple of playoff berths certainly improved its spirits and attitude
How can one forget this shot?
But now, is that all about to change?
In the summer of 2014, Aldridge made it clear he wanted to re-sign in Portland but wanted to wait until this summer to secure a maximum five-year contract. Of course, this didn't stop the rumor mill swirling around him. The innuendo was he wanted to see if this Blazer team was for real.
What is for real is the landscape's changed:
- Portland was knocked out of the playoffs by a gritty Memphis Grizzlies team,
- Matthews’ future is in question due to a devastating Achilles injury, and
- Half the team is in free agency
So, Aldridge’s declaration a year ago now seems like a distant memory. He'll test the market, and there will be numerous teams battling for his services, including the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks.
Speaking of the dethroned titlists, the Spurs finally looked like they took a sip from the wrong cup at season's end.
Aldridge might make a great deal of sense for those dudes. Building around Kawhi Leonard and Aldridge could set the Spurs up for the foreseeable future, considering the younger supporting cast San Antonio already has.
Regardless, it'll be a hectic summer for the Trail Blazers, but more importantly, for Aldridge, who might be saying goodbye to Rip City and the Pinwheel. The draw back home to Texas will probably never be felt as strongly as it does right now.
Until his autograph is dry on someone's contract, all of Texas will be abuzz in the hopes of him wanting to come home.