Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge told Yahoo Sports that while he grew frustrated with the team's direction last year, he never demanded a trade, and the moves Portland has made have satisfied him.
Blazers @aldridge_12 tells Yahoo Sports he was extremely frustrated with last season but not to the point where he asked for a trade.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) August 31, 2013
"I wasnt ready to make a move yet. I was just frustrated in the moment. I haven't given Neil (Olshey) a chance yet," @aldridge_12 told Yahoo— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) August 31, 2013
More @aldridge_12 :"I did the whole rebuilding thing. I want to win. I told him let's get better this summer. I think (Olshey's) done that."— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) September 1, 2013
More @aldridge_12 :"I was a little disappointed(at season's end).Probably a little overly emotional about it.But everything is looking good"— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) September 1, 2013
Are you wasting the prime years of your career? @aldridge_12 : "I have a lot of years left in my prime. I don't think it's being wasted."— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) September 1, 2013
The Blazers addressed their starting center by adding Robin Lopez and boosted their woeful bench by drafting C.J. McCollum and adding point guard Mo Williams. They brought on Dorell Wright to boost their shooting. They even have Thomas Robinson who could still become a useful contributor.
They certainly look like a playoff team.
But is that enough? Aldridge was considered an afterthought to Brandon Roy, then an afterthought to Greg Oden, and still became the Blazers' best player over the past ten years. He's been consistent and productive, and is considered among the top power forwards in the game but has languished on lottery teams in recent years.
Aldridge is a free agent in two years, which means that next summer would begin the traditional "make us a contender, trade me where I want, or I'll leave in free agency" year that most stars have used to join other stars. So this is kind of a huge year for the Blazers. They'll be better. But is Damian Lillard, Batum, and an improved bench enough to get Aldridge on to a contender?
If not, or if the Blazers moves fall apart as sometimes these things just tend to do, this situation could change, with Aldridge's patience running out. The clock is ticking.