On Tuesday, CBS Sports' Matt Moore took a look at recent rumors about San Antonio Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge, concluding that it's reasonable to assume there are at least "a few sparks" with this smoke. A day later, there's more fuel on that fire -- the San Antonio Express-News' Jabari Young reported that the Spurs are open to trading Aldridge, who might be unhappy because the offense doesn't revolve around him:
The Express-News has been informed by a league source the Spurs are open to trading the former Longhorn should the right package surface. Those within the Spurs refuted the suggestion, saying no talks have occurred with any team.
This isn't the first time rumors surrounding Aldridge's future with San Antonio have surfaced. Last season, there were rumblings in NBA circles that Aldridge wanted to be traded before the All-Star break, maybe to a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Spurs didn't bite, though, won 67 games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
Those close to the situation suggest Aldridge may not be happy at the moment. The belief is the Spurs pitched him on becoming the center of their offense when they recruited him in 2015, and that hasn't occurred with the rise of Kawhi Leonard. However, a team source said there are currently no problems with Aldridge, adding he is [a part] of the Spurs' future.
If you recall, Aldridge went through a similar situation with the Portland Trail Blazers. Though there was no serious turmoil between the two, Aldridge wasn't exactly thrilled with the [ascension] and eventual takeover by Damian Lillard as the face of the franchise.
Wow, OK. Despite the fact that the Spurs won 67 games last season, and Aldridge had the most efficient year of his career, he might want out? On its face, this sounds crazy, but here are a few thoughts:
- As the Express-News pointed out, there were reports that Aldridge was defensive of his status as the No. 1 guy in Portland. When he chose to go to San Antonio, though, he knew what he was doing. The Spurs don't promote individual players, and they treat everybody the same way. By signing there, he made his job easier, as the offense creates good looks for him, but he also gave up some isolation plays and per-game numbers. Nothing about this situation should be surprising.
- The "rumblings in NBA circles" about Aldridge wanting to go to the Cavs last year do not make any sense. If his concern in San Antonio is an offense that doesn't revolve around him, why would he want to go to Cleveland and be the third banana? If he was wishing for a do-over, you'd think he might regret turning down the Phoenix Suns or Toronto Raptors, teams that tried to sell him on being the go-to guy. He has said numerous times that he was very close to choosing Phoenix.
- Maybe everybody should just chill out and see how things go. The Spurs are going to have a different look this season because of Tim Duncan's absence. Aldridge and newcomer Pau Gasol could develop nice chemistry. Kawhi Leonard could become an MVP candidate. If Aldridge gets the same quality of looks that he did last year, but has a few more touches per game, then he'll have a career year. It seems weird -- and very un-Spursian -- that there's drama before the regular season has even started.
- San Antonio generally stays out of headlines when it comes to rumors. In a way, though, these reports could be good for the front office. If other contenders think they have a chance of getting Aldridge, they might start proposing the kind of offers that the Spurs would have to take seriously.