LaMarcus Aldridge: Knicks wanted me to play ‘strictly’ center
The San Antonio Spurs were the frontrunner to sign LaMarcus Aldridge from the start of free agency, and eventually the expected happened. Aldridge still met with other teams, but why did he cancel on the New York Knicks?
New York’s horrendous season last year had nothing to do with it. If that was the reason, it wouldn’t make sense for Aldridge to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers twice. During an appearance on The Russillo Show on ESPN Radio earlier this week, Aldridge said he wasn’t interested in what the Knicks had in mind for him.
“About the New York Knicks, they told me that they wanted me to play strictly [center],” he said, per Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders. “So they didn’t want to meet with me. People was saying it was me, but it was both parties agreeing that we shouldn’t meet.”
Aldridge is 6-foot-11, but he sees himself as a power forward — not a center. When you stop and think about it, that’s probably why he passed on both the Lakers and the Knicks.
One of the reasons Aldridge didn’t enjoy his first meeting with the Lakers was that he reportedly didn’t mesh well with Kobe Bryant. Kobe said he envisioned Aldridge playing a Pau Gasol-type role, and Gasol is a center. Gasol had some of his best seasons when he played under Phil Jackson in L.A. Jackson is now in charge of basketball operations with the Knicks.
You see where this is going.
The Spurs, on the other hand, seemed to speak Aldridge’s language from the start.
“It’s not going to be any different than Portland as far as minutes because I just turned 30,” Aldridge said of playing in San Antonio. “So for them, I’m really young. Compared to Tim [Duncan] and Manu [Ginobili], I’m really young. So (Gregg Popovich is) going to try and manage my minutes, but I’m still going to play a lot.”
Sounds like a winning formula.