Report: LaMarcus Aldridge scared off by Knicks’ Porzingis commitment
LaMarcus Aldridge may have chosen not to sign with the New York Knicks this offseason for a variety of reasons. But according to a new report, the tipping point may have been the team’s unflinching commitment to play No. 4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis at Aldridge’s desired power forward position.
In a story by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News published on Tuesday, Aldridge detailed the process that led him to cross the Knicks off his list of free agent suitors and cancel his scheduled meeting with them.
“They were saying they wanted me to be more of a center to let their guy (Porzingis) develop and I just wasn’t looking to be that,” said Aldridge. “So I was looking to play power forward, and they weren’t really interested.”
The 4-time All-Star continued, “If they’re going to tell me that I have to play center and I don’t want to play center, then of course it’s mutual after that. But before that I was excited to meet with them. I was interested. But they wanted to have their draft pick play and I get it.”
Aldridge also mentioned that he was in contact with Knicks star Carmelo Anthony during the process.
“Melo and I talked a little bit over text and we have mutual friends that passed messages along. I was interested,” Aldridge said. “I talked to other guys to see if they were interested in going there too. I was interested but when they say they want me to play a position that I don’t want to play, I get it.”
That may have been part of the reason why Anthony was so unhappy with the Porzingis selection when it happened. But while the Aldridge revelation looks bad at face value, it’s hard to fault the Knicks for the way they went about this.
The Porzingis pick was the no-brainer choice at the time, especially given Willie Cauley-Stein’s offensive rawness, concerns about Emmanuel Mudiay in the triangle, and Mario Hezonja’s haunting reminders of J.R. Smith.
Aldridge’s desire to play the 4 instead of the 5 was well-known amongst his free agent suitors. But selling Porzingis and his development down the river by either nailing him to the bench or having him play out of position to chase an Aldridge pipe dream would have been a horribly short-sighted decision.
Plus, even if they capitulated to Aldridge’s positional demands, the chance the Knicks would be able to land him would still be remote. The team went 17-65 last season and in ultimately signing with the Spurs, Aldridge proved that winning was his biggest priority.
In the end, it was wise of the Knicks to only pursue Aldridge if he fit into their plans, not the other way around. Now, the 30-year-old Aldridge is poised for title contention in San Antonio and Porzingis is free to thrive with all the minutes he can handle at the 4 in Madison Square (with the occasional help from Melo as a small-ball 4). It looks like this all worked out for the best for everyone.
H/T CBS Sports