LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge probably won’t sign contract extension with Trail Blazers


LaMarcus Aldridge was reportedly pushing for a trade last summer.

By January of the Trail Blazers’ surprising breakthrough season, he was talking about signing a contract extension.

But with one season and $16,006,000 remaining on his contract, Aldridge probably won’t follow through with that option.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Thus it’s believed that Portland will have to wait until after Aldridge plays out the final season of his contract at just over $16 million and hits free agency

This makes total sense, because the Collective Bargaining Agreement limits how much money Aldridge could make on an extension relative to a new contract a year from now.

Using the NBA’s latest salary-cap projection and a crude projection for 2015-16 that has the cap rising by the same amount as it’s expected to rise from 2013-14 to 2014-15 ($4,521,000), here are the maximum salaries Aldridge could receive from the Trail Blazers.

An extension signed this offseason is black. A new contract next summer is red.


That is a whopping difference.

Aldridge could sign a three-year, $55,490,801 extension this summer.*

As a free agent in 2015, he could sign a five-year, $127,290,716 $109,106,328 contract.

*In the unlikely event Aldridge signs an extension, he’d surely wait until July 1. Prior, the extension could be for only two years and $35,703,384. There’s no point in rushing the extension  by June 30. Even after July 1, he could always still sign a shorter deal.

Of course, waiting a year comes with risk.

Aldridge finished in the top 10 of MVP voting and led the Trail Blazers further into the playoffs than they’ve been in 14 years. His stock has never been higher.

Turning 29 this summer, he could regress a bit and see his value fall. So, an extension this offseason – when he could surely get the maximum possible – would be the safest route.

But, even if Aldridge doesn’t get the max next offseason – and I’d guess he won’t – there’s enough margin for error between those red and black lines to make waiting the best option.

I don’t doubt Aldridge wants to stay in Portland – though, by waiting to re-up, there’s always a chance his loyalties could be swayed – and him not signing an extension doesn’t indicate a desire to leave. It’s purely about maximizing his earnings.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi

Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.