It’s amazing how winning cures all ills in sports.
As recently as last summer, it was clear LaMarcus Aldridge was frustrated with the losing in Portland (the team had gone 33-49). There was buzz he wanted a trade, which he denied, but the reality was he could be a free agent in 2015 and it felt like he could bolt then (and there would be a real market for him).
Now Portland is 28-9 and all is right with the world in Rip City. Everyone who goes up against Aldridge is lunch meat.
And now, Aldridge says he would consider an extension with the Trail Blazers, as he told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune.
“Neil (Olshey, Blazers GM) and I talked all summer,” Aldridge says now. “I was unhappy with what happened last season. He said, ‘I know you want to win now. We’re not going to rebuild. We’re going to bring in some guys to win now.’ We went back and forth. He said, ‘Let me bring in some guys to help you.’ And that’s what happened.”
Now Aldridge is of a different mindset about his future. He has one more year after this on a contract that will pay him $16 million for the 2014-15 campaign. He has allowed himself to consider the possibility of finishing his career in Portland, becoming the NBA rarity of a player spending his entire professional career with one team… For the first time, Aldridge is thinking he’d like to sit down with Olshey and negotiate a contract extension.
“I would like to re-sign here,” he says. “If they want to talk about it, I would talk about it. They haven’t yet, but I’m looking forward to the chance to do that.”
He may not sign an extension — under the new CBA Portland can only offer three years of extension next season, however if he becomes a free agent and re-signs with Portland he can get five years (one extra guaranteed year).
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Either way, he may stay.
The Blazers are a good team, but not one defending well enough right now to really contend (they surrender 105 points per 100 possessions, 23rd in the NBA). However, that can change with a couple roster tweaks and system changes. With their offense they don’t need to be elite on defense, just solid. That’s doable.
Portland is a good young team that can contend as they grow, but only if Aldridge is a part of that. It sounds like he wants to be.