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#pounditTuesday, December 7, 2021

Articles tagged: LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge hints at eventual return to Portland

LaMarcus Aldridge basketball

LaMarcus Aldridge dropped a hint at where he would like to end his NBA career.

Aldridge spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers after being selected No. 2 overall in the 2006 NBA Draft. During that time, Aldridge established a bond with Damian Lillard, who was drafted in 2012.

Although Aldridge is now a member of the Spurs, Portland still has a special place in his heart. According to a feature in The Athletic, Aldridge has even talked with Lillard about returning to finish his career as a member of the Blazers.

Aldridge finishing his career in Portland would certainly makes for a nice story. He’s currently fourth in franchise history in games played (648), second in points scored (12,562), and first in rebounds (5,434). Based on recent comments by Lillard, it sounds like the he will still be around if Aldridge does make his triumphant return.

Ranking the 20 best players in the NBA’s Western Conference

It won’t come as news to anyone that the NBA’s Western Conference is loaded.

LeBron James’ decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers puts the topper on the most loaded conference in basketball. Beyond James, you have a Golden State Warriors team that will eventually be able to start five All-Stars if they choose to do so. That doesn’t even encompass a number of other superstars playing out West either. We’re already excited for the playoffs.

Who are the 20 best players in the Western Conference? Here’s our list.

20) Donovan Mitchell, Jazz

It may seem premature, but Mitchell is on here as much for what he could be as soon as next season. Mitchell walked into the NBA from Louisville and became one of the major reasons Utah had such a successful season, averaging upwards of 20 points per game. With a year of experience and the motivation from a feud under his belt, there’s no reason to believe he won’t get even better going forward. Did you see how well he performed in the playoffs? That’s just a taste of what’s to come.

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LaMarcus Aldridge reportedly explored trade back to Blazers amid rift with Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge got off to a rocky start with the San Antonio Spurs in his first two seasons with the team, which is why it was such a surprise when he signed a three-year extension back in October. Prior to that, his relationship with Gregg Popovich and the team was apparently even worse than it seemed.

Ken Berger of Bleacher Report wrote on Thursday that Popovich’s ability to repair his relationship with a star player — such as Kawhi Leonard — should not be underestimated. For evidence of that, he cited a source who claimed Aldridge was trying to facilitate a trade back to the Portland Trail Blazers last year, and Pop managed to straighten things out.

Still, multiple league sources advised not to underestimate Popovich’s ability to repair the team’s relationship with Leonard. Last season, a deep rift developed between the team and All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, to the point where Aldridge called former teammate Damian Lillard and asked him to approach general manager Neil Olshey about bringing Aldridge back to Portland, a person familiar with the conversation told B/R.

“You can never say done because everybody thought that the Aldridge thing was over and that there was no chance to salvage that,” one of the people said. “Pop went in and smoothed it over. You can’t underestimate the power of the Pop in these situations.”

If you remember, Popovich was extremely candid in admitting that he did not handle Aldridge properly when the star big man first got to San Antonio. The situation with Leonard is a bit different, but there have been indications that things aren’t all that bad between Leonard and Pop.

Whatever Popvich did to fix the Aldridge situation seems to have worked. Aldridge had one of the best seasons of his career this year, averaging 23.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Gregg Popovich admits mistake in handling of LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge

Gregg Popovich admitted a mistake in the way he handled LaMarcus Aldridge during the forward’s first two seasons with the team.

The San Antonio Spurs signed Aldridge to a four-year, $80 million contract two years ago. Aldridge did not exactly show his best stuff in those two years, as many of his numbers last season dropped to his lowest since his rookie season. The Spurs did not lose faith in him, though, as they gave Aldridge a three-year, $72.3 million extension this week.

Now entering his third season with the team, Popovich is expecting big things from Aldridge after the two worked things out this summer, with Pop conceding his mistake.

“He just didn’t feel comfortable and it’s 98.75 percent on me, and whatever is left because I can’t subtract that well. I tried to change him,” Popovich said Wednesday, via MySanAntonio.com.

“I thought back to Timmy, and people said, ‘Oh, what are you going to do with Tim Duncan,’” Popovich said. “And I said, ‘Nothing, I’m just going to watch him for six months and see what he does. He’s a pretty good player. And if there’s something that I think I can add, then I’ll do it.’ With LaMarcus, he got here and on day one I said, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this. And (Jack) Sikma did this. And you’re going to do this pump fake.’ I tried to change him. I tried to make him a different player.’”

Popovich said that in conversations with Aldridge this summer, he took responsibility for trying to change Aldridge. Their conversations lead him to feel like the forward will feel more comfortable this season. The Spurs sure could use him to emerge as a strong No. 2 option behind Kawhi Leonard.

Report: LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs discussing extension

The San Antonio Spurs are reportedly working on locking down one of their more prominent players.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Monday that the Spurs and big man LaMarcus Aldridge are engaged in contract talks.

Aldridge had joined the Spurs in 2015 and has two years remaining on his original deal.

The 32-year-old made his name with the Portland Trail Blazers, and he became one of the most coveted free agents on the market two summers ago. His numbers have dropped since joining San Antonio, and there are rumors that he has been a net negative on player recruitment, but the Spurs obviously want to keep the veteran in the fold.

Report: Chris Paul had concerns with Spurs due to LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker

Chris Paul

The Houston Rockets beat out the San Antonio Spurs as Chris Paul’s Texas team destination of choice, and now we’re getting a bit of an idea why.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reports Thursday that while the nine-time All-Star point guard was “seriously interested” in signing with San Antonio, concerns over the respective situations of LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker ultimately tempered his interest.

Per Spears:

Paul was seriously interested in playing for the Spurs, according to a source. But with Aldridge’s status with the Spurs up in the air, it made the situation less attractive. It probably would have been awkward for Paul to take the starting role over longtime Spurs point guard, respected foe and friend Tony Parker.

The Spurs appeared to be the non-Clippers frontrunner to land Paul’s services earlier this month. But the Aldridge situation is messy, and Parker has been San Antonio’s starting point guard for the last 16 seasons. Ultimately, the chance to play alongside James Harden on a younger team with greater financial flexibility proved too much for Paul to turn down.

Blazers reportedly open to reunion with LaMarcus Aldridge via trade

Perhaps it’s time for LaMarcus Aldridge to start drafting his “I’m Coming Home” essay.

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News reports on Thursday that the Portland Trail Blazers “haven’t closed the door completely” on an Aldridge return and are open to reuniting with him via trade. However, Young adds that the Blazers would only be willing to do such a trade for matching salary.

Aldridge played the first nine seasons of his career in Portland and made four All-Star teams there before leaving to sign with the San Antonio Spurs as a free agent in 2015. He has been dogged by trade rumors for months and is now reportedly on the block again as the NBA draft approaches.

The 31-year-old Aldridge is under contract for approximately $21.5 million next season and holds a $22.3 million player option for 2018-19. He still appears to be on good terms with Blazers star Damian Lillard, and we have definitely seen crazier things happen.

Kevin Durant downplays controversial LaMarcus Aldridge play

LaMarcus Aldridge foot

LaMarcus Aldridge defended Kevin Durant on a shot during Game 2 Tuesday night in a manner that should infuriate San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, but Durant didn’t think much of it.

Late in the first half of the Golden State Warriors’ blowout victory, Aldridge contested a 3-point attempt from Durant and appeared to slide his foot under Durant’s.

Durant was asked for his thoughts on the play after the game, and he gave Aldridge the benefit of the doubt.

“Bigs are not used to being out on the perimeter and guarding guys on the perimeter, so their whole thing is to kind of give you space,” Durant explained. “So when you pull up, they just contest. That’s part of the game. It’s been happening forever, since I’ve been in the league. I think sometimes bigs just try to contest and sometimes that stuff can happen, but it’s not on purpose at all.”

Of course, the play was very similar to the one where Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia injured Kawhi Leonard’s ankle (watch it here) during Game 1. Popovich unloaded on Pachulia and said the play was dangerous even if not intentional, so it will be interesting to see how he feels about his own player being on the other end.

Fortunately, Durant avoided an injury.

LaMarcus Aldridge did the same foot thing as Zaza Pachulia

LaMarcus Aldridge foot

While you were hardly paying attention to the Golden State Warriors’ blowout of the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of their series on Tuesday night, you may have missed the latest controversy.

During the second quarter of the game, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge appeared to slide his foot under Kevin Durant’s following a shot:

The play was eerily similar to what Zaza Pachulia did that resulted in Kawhi Leonard’s ankle injury. Many questioned whether or not it was intentional.

What do you think?

LaMarcus Aldridge cleared to resume basketball activities

LaMarcus Aldridge appears to have come through his health scare alright.

Aldridge has been officially cleared to resume basketball activities after dealing with a minor heart arrhythmia, according to the San Antonio Spurs, and will be able to play again immediately.

Aldridge’s clearance comes four days after the condition was revealed publicly. Obviously, hearing about heart issues is rather alarming, even if Aldridge does have a previous diagnosis of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It’s good to see that this is as minor as the Spurs hoped it would be.