When a report surfaced a few days ago that had LaMarcus Aldridge unhappy in Portland and potentially wanting out, the impending denial from Aldridge that was almost certainly on the way was completely expected.
With no leverage to force a trade out of town, and with Aldridge being one of the team’s two cornerstones along with Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, there was no way that the Blazers would succumb to any demands to trade Aldridge to another team for pennies on the dollar.
The denial came on Saturday, when Aldridge came out and said that he hasn’t demanded a trade form the Blazers.
From Joe Freeman of The Oregonian:
In an e-mail to The Oregonian, Aldridge said he has not asked to be traded and expressed tempered enthusiasm about the Blazers’ prospects in free agency, which opens July 1.
“I haven’t demanded a trade,” Aldridge said in the e-mail.
“I’m looking forward to who we sign in free agency to make us better,” Aldridge said in the e-mail.
Obviously, none of what Aldridge said here means that he’s actually happy in Portland. But he wanted to quell the rumors that he was asking out, and did so successfully with this correspondence.
Aldridge has two years left on a contract that will pay him in excess of $14 million and $15 million in each of the following seasons. There are teams out there that would love to have a chance at prying him from the Blazers, but Portland seems intent on building around their All-Star forward, and Aldridge, based on this acknowledgement of public perception, likely realized it.
In his first game in New Orleans, coach Alvin Gentry threw forward Omri Casspi right into the rotation, and he scored a dozen points.
Casspi also broke his thumb and will be out 4-6 weeks.
Because there is so little time in the season and the Pelicans want to make the playoffs, they have decided to waive Casspi, reports Sams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
The idea is to create a roster spot to either grab someone waived by another team over the next few days or to get players on 10-day contracts.
Casspi will be a free agent this summer, and there are a number of teams that think he has real potential once unleashed outside what was going on in Sacramento.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed forward Ryan Kelly and guard Lamar Patterson to multiyear contracts.
Patterson provides depth across the perimeter, including at point guard. He previously signed two 10-day contracts with the team, most recently on Feb. 8. He has averaged 2.3 points in four games.
The 6-foot-11 Kelly has played in nine games with the Hawks after signing Oct. 31.
The Hawks now have their maximum 15 players. They traded forward Mike Scott to the Suns on Thursday, leaving two vacant roster spots.
Kelly and Patterson are expected to be available when the Hawks play Miami on Friday night.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee fired back at Shaquille O’Neal via Twitter after the former star-turned analyst posted on his verified account a disparaging photo of McGee with the words, “America meet Javale “BUM” McGee.”
O’Neal also responded angrily to McGee , saying he would “smack” McGee’s “bum a–.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant backed McGee on Friday, with Durant calling Shaq “childish” while calling out the retired center’s free throw shooting and other flaws in his game during a Hall of Fame NBA career.
Shaq and McGee went back and forth in a heated Twitter spat late Thursday night, when McGee returned to a reserve role for the NBA-best Warriors as starting center Zaza Pachulia returned from an eight-game absence because of a shoulder injury.
For a couple of seasons now, teams have tried to beat the Golden State Warriors by making the game ugly — slow, grinding, physical, and the opposite of the free-wheeling game they like. Only one team has had any real success with that strategy, and it has LeBron James on it (and even that wouldn’t have been enough if Draymond Green could keep his hands to himself).
So why not beat them at their own game?
That’s what Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey thought when he added Lou Williams to the roster, he said.
There is a sense around the Warriors that the Rockets may be a bigger concern than the Spurs, because Houston can score with them. Don’t confuse that with worry in the Bay Area, they are the best team in the West if healthy, but the Rockets may be the team they face off against in the conference finals.
And if that happens, Lou Williams is going to play a significant role.