Gone are the days when the Los Angeles Lakers were perennial contenders for an NBA championship, producing a product that essentially sold itself to free agents. Now, the Lakers have to work to convince players that the franchise can turn things around.
They were apparently unable to do that with LaMarcus Aldridge.
On Wednesday, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported that one of the reasons Aldridge was unimpressed in his meeting with the Lakers is that he didn’t mesh well with Kobe Bryant. Bresnahan later added that the power forward was put off by the Lakers pitching branding opportunities in LA.
The Lakers talked a lot about branding opportunities in the city of Los Angeles and tried to push their youth movement, but Aldridge simply wanted more in-depth basketball talk.
He was impressed by the Spurs’ plan, which outlined how the franchise would be built around him and 24-year-old Kawhi Leonard, driven forward by the need for another championship to send off Tim Duncan with a sixth ring.
You can’t blame the Lakers for trying to sell Aldridge on life in one of America’s most popular cities. They’re coming off a 21-61 season and Kobe will soon turn 37. From a basketball standpoint, the Lakers are not in good shape.
That said, the corny tweets they sent obviously had no impact on Aldridge. He was reportedly more impressed with the Houston Rockets and the analytics portion of their pitch. The Rockets also have the luxury of being able to sell free agents on joining Dwight Howard and James Harden.
With or without Kobe, the Lakers have officially entered full rebuilding mode.
The Los Angeles Lakers called upon their star power to recruit LaMarcus Aldridge as soon as free agency began, and we’re not talking about Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers started a social media movement called #LAtoLA in an attempt to flatter the top free agent prize on the market. Part of the campaign involved the photo you see above of Adam Levine wearing a custom Aldridge Lakers jersey. Although the Lakers cleared the tweets with the NBA ahead of time, they reportedly deleted them after other teams complained.
As Bill Oram of The Orange County Register notes, the tweets may have violated league rules. During the July free agency period, only a team’s “designated negotiator” — in this case Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak — is allowed to say if his or her team is in discussions with a player.
Some people believe the Lakers pulled the tweets because their meeting with Aldridge did not go particularly well. One report even indicated that he did not mesh well with Kobe Bryant.
It would be way more fun if that’s why the Lakers pulled the tweets.
You can cross the Lakers off LaMarcus Aldridge’s free agency list.
According to Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times, Aldridge did not care for the Lakers’ free agency pitch to him, and will not be signing with the team. This represents a change given that the Lakers were said to be moving up Aldridge’s list prior to free agency.
An earlier report Wednesday by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the Lakers did not make a strong impression on the free agent forward. Bresnahan augments that notion and provides more details, saying that Aldridge did not mesh well with Kobe Bryant.
Translation: Aldridge did not like what the Lakers pitched him about their plans to improve to improve coming off a horrid 21-61 season. Without the Lakers in the picture, Aldridge reportedly will be choosing between the Spurs and Rockets, with the Suns as a potential contender in a sign-and-trade. San Antonio is being viewed as a frontrunner. The Spurs even traded Tiago Splitter to Atlanta to make room for a contract for the former Blazer.
Now we can also add Aldridge’s name to the list of free agents Kobe supposedly has cost the Lakers.
The Los Angeles Lakers and their famous fans are making a strong recruiting pitch to free agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge, but it may not be enough.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that the Lakers did not make a strong impression on Aldridge in their meeting with him early Wednesday, and the 29-year-old is expected to make a decision “fairly soon” after meeting with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs, who re-signed Danny Green with a four-year deal, also traded Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks in an apparent move to free up the necessary cap space needed to sign Aldridge.
A separate report from ESPN’s Ramonda Shelburne indicated that Aldridge’s meeting with the Lakers went “really well.”
From the look of it, the sales pitch these two music moguls tried to make is not going to work. The Spurs are considered the favorite for the top prize on the free agent market.
NBA Free Agency 2015 is officially upon us and the Los Angeles Lakers are pulling out all the stops in their attempt to land Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Lakers, whose interest in the 4-time All-Star has been well-documented (and quite possibly mutual), got some help from a couple of celebrity recruiters upon the commencement of the free agency period at midnight on Wednesday.
Yep, that’s Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine sporting a customized Aldridge Lakers jersey in what looks to be the comfort of his bedroom. While “The Voice” judge might not be a part of Mitch Kupchak’s free agency entourage (not to mention the complete lack of respect he’s showing for Vander Blue, who wore the No. 12 Lakers jersey last season), having Levine serve as the poster child for the #LAtoLA campaign to the Lakers’ 4.37 million Twitter followers has gotta be one flattering show of affection for Aldridge.
But the Lakers’ VIP recruitment campaign on social media didn’t stop there.
Though Levine and Snoop probably aren’t about to pen songs about Aldridge entitled “He Will Be Loved” and “Nuthin But an LMA Thang,” this is just the first glimpse of the bright lights, glamour, and A-list company awaiting Aldridge should he decide to take his talents to the Lakeshow. Tempting stuff, indeed, though hopefully this campaign works much better for them than it did the last time around they tried to use it on a big.
Well at least the Spurs can counter with H. Ross Perot.
Image via @Lakers on Twitter
The LaMarcus Aldridge era in Portland is reportedly coming to an end.
Trail Blazers writer Erik Gunderson of The Columbian reported on Thursday afternoon that the four-time All-Star has informed the Blazers that he will not be returning to the team.
The 29-year-old Aldridge, who has played his entire nine-year career in Rip City thus far, is an unrestricted free agent and has been widely rumored to be taking his talents elsewhere for quite some time now. An ESPN report put Aldridge’s chances of bolting Portland at “99.9 percent” and now the departure appears to be a done deal.
Portland’s trade of Nicolas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, a move which opened up close to $4 million in cap space, may be a signal that the team is already bracing itself for the post-Aldridge era. With Wesley Matthews, Arron Afflalo, and Robin Lopez all unrestricted free agents this summer as well, the Blazers could be blowing up their core almost entirely in the coming months. It’s a shocking turn of events after back-to-back 50-win seasons, but expect Neil Olshey to make a run at big-name free agents like DeAndre Jordan, Paul Millsap, and Kevin Love to fill the void that Aldridge is about to create.
As for Aldridge himself, the Los Angeles Lakers are gaining traction as a potential destination for the big man. While the idea of Aldridge in LA is a compelling notion, the Lakers are spreading their forces everywhere right now and linking themselves to every free agent under the sun. Without having a focused plan, it’s difficult to envision them beating out another suitor who’s able to give Aldridge their full attention.
Their biggest competitors for Aldridge’s services are said to be the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, as the big man was born and raised in Texas and attended college at the University of Texas at Austin. The Mavericks don’t have much long-term certainty outside of Twilight Dirk and Fresh-Off-Knee-Surgery Chandler Parsons and on top of that, the failed Rajon Rondo experiment might be enough to dissuade free agents like Aldridge from committing to Dallas long term. Meanwhile, the Spurs have a lot to offer with their better young core juxtaposed with veteran mentors and a championship-proven culture. If Aldridge values winning above all (which appears to be the case seeing as he is about to leave a situation in Portland that could offer him the most money), then San Antonio is the logical choice.
Though it’s impossible to get a clear picture of what uniform Aldridge will be sporting next season, let’s at least give him credit for being upfront with Portland and revealing his intentions before they expended futile resources on him during the free agency period (a courtesy that a player like, say, LeBron James failed to extend to the Miami Heat last offseason).
Portland, for their part, will continue to move forward in their now Aldridge-less future, beginning with the NBA Draft where they hold the No. 23 overall pick.
LaMarcus Aldridge is an unrestricted free agent who seems to be intent on leaving the Trail Blazers, and the Lakers reportedly are moving up on his list of preferred destinations.
Aldridge, who is from Dallas and played college ball at Texas, is said to be strongly considering the Spurs and Mavericks. ESPN’s Marc Stein also reports that Aldridge’s interest in the Lakers is growing and that they may be head of the Mavericks on his preference list. Stein adds that Portland traded Nicolas Batum Wednesday because they believe Aldridge is leaving in free agency, so they wanted more salary cap flexibility.
Aldridge, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft, has played his entire career in Portland and has made the All-Star team four times. Despite reaching the playoffs five times, he has only advanced past the first round once. Aldridge likely feels that signing with a more successful franchise like San Antonio or Dallas would give him a better chance at making a deep run in the postseason.
The Lakers are probably appealing to Aldridge because of all the rumors about them acquiring DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings. Pairing Cousins with Aldridge would result in one of the best frontcourts in the league.
Serge Ibaka and LaMarcus Aldridge were ejected from the end of the Trail Blazers-Thunder game on Tuesday night after getting into a scuffle in the final minute.
Portland beat Oklahoma City 1115-111 in overtime, but the two big men mixing it up was the story of the final period.
The incident started as most of these do, with the two fighting for position inside. Aldridge came at Ibaka, and the two clenched like a couple of sumo wrestlers. No punches appeared to be thrown, but it was enough to get them called for double-technicals.
Whether it’s Aldridge, Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin or Metta World Peace, Ibaka seems to get into it with everyone.
LaMarcus Aldridge went for a career-high 44 points in Portland’s 110-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, and he was so proud of his big game, he said he was going to keep the ball from it.
“Yeah I am,” Aldridge answered when asked by TNT’s Craig Sager if he was keeping the ball. “This is my eighth ball I got.
“My first two are 30-20 games, my 42-point game … things like that,” Aldridge said of the balls he keeps.
Aldridge held up the ball proudly because he is adding it to his collection.
Sager also asked Aldridge about being an MVP candidate.
“I love it. I work hard every summer, my team believes in me. I’m truly blessed by god and just go do it.”
LaMarcus has really taken his game to another level this season. He’s averaging career-highs in points (24.2), rebounds (11.6), assists (2.9) and free throw percentage (81.6). His 1.9 fouls per game are the lowest of his career, and his 1.7 turnovers per game are his lowest in four seasons. He has really improved across the board.
Aldridge went 15-of-29 from the field, 14-of-17 at the line, and he scored the final 15 points of the game for the Blazers. He also had 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. It’s hard to beat that, though Durant has topped the point total 4 times (4!!) in the past three weeks.
The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Indiana Pacers in a thrilling 106-102 game on Monday night, thanks in large part to LaMarcus Aldridge’s willingness to drive to the basket. Aldridge helped the Blazers overcome a career-high 43 points from Paul George by attacking the hoop in the second half and getting to the free throw line. He finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds.
And in the process, Aldridge got the best of one of the game’s better defenders. Roy Hibbert fell to the floor in pain two times after he was called for blocking fouls on Aldridge. After the game, he told Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star that Aldridge kneed him in the groin both times. Hibbert then sent this hilarious tweet.
Aldridge couldn’t resist the opportunity to respond to Hibbert’s swipe, and a very classy Twitter exchange followed between the two.