Author: Brett Pollakoff

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three

LaMarcus Aldridge: 9 years in Portland will ‘have more weight than anything else’ on his free agent decision


Will LaMarcus Aldridge stay in Portland?

It’s likely that no one knows the answer to that question at this point, not even Aldridge himself.

But for Blazers fans looking for clues as to how next season’s roster might shake out, it seems as though Aldridge sincerely values his time in Portland, and that will weigh heavily on his decision whether or not to potentially play somewhere else.

From Erik Gundersen of

Q: What’s important for you when you decide?

LA: Yeah. Last night was tough. I wanted to win, blah blah blah. Um yeah. I mean you know i’m not going to get into the details of it. I’m just going to go home, relax, talk to my family and my agent and just go from there

Of course I love being here. I’m thankful for everything this city has give me. I’m thankful for my nine years my time here. It’s been an amazing nine years, of course I wouldn’t want to end. But when the time comes I will sit down with my agent and Neil and Paul and we’ll just figure it out.

Q: Does this team have the benefit though?

LA: As I said we will sit down and figure it out. I’m not going to get into all of the percentages or anything like that. I’ve always been here. I’ve had a great nine years here. That’s always going to have more weight than anything else.

If you think Aldridge’s time in Portland has been a positive, then that could mean he’ll consider re-signing. The problem is, if a team like the Spurs comes along — and Aldridge is interested in a change of scenery — it may be a situation that’s too good to pass up.

Report: Knicks would be ‘very open’ to trading their first-round pick if it falls outside the top two

Phil Jackson, James Dolan, executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company

Phil Jackson has said on more than one occasion that he’d consider trading the Knicks’ first-round pick in advance of this summer’s NBA Draft.

That’s the smart position to take — it doesn’t mean Jackson is shopping the pick, or that he wants to trade it, necessarily. It only means that he’s open to the possibilities, and won’t be afraid to accept an offer that may be too good to pass up.

But it’s no secret that Jackson and the Knicks desire to rebuild quickly, so if the pick falls out of the top two when the draft lottery results are announced on May 19, the likelihood of trading it may increase exponentially.

From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

Phil Jackson has said he will likely keep the pick if it falls within the top four, but will consider dealing the pick if it falls to No. 5. Of course, Jackson could change his thinking between now and draft night. League sources with knowledge of the Knicks’ thinking said last month that the team would be very open to trading the pick if it falls outside the top two.

Jackson has said he’s looking for a strong defender in the draft, so it makes sense that the Knicks would rate Towns over Okafor. Towns is widely believed to be the stronger defender of the two at this stage of their careers, while Okafor is viewed by many talent evaluators as a stronger offensive player who is also more NBA-ready. But many scouts believe Towns can develop into a better all-around threat.

Most teams, at this point, seem to rate Karl-Anthony Towns ahead of Jahlil Okafor on their internal draft boards.

The lottery will be critical for plenty of teams, perhaps this year more than most. The Lakers, for example, are desperate for an influx of young talent, but will lose their pick should it fall outside the top five.

The Knicks are in the same boat — not in terms of losing their pick, but they will need a solid player on a rookie-scale deal to jumpstart the rebuilding process. If there are no perceived sure things available at the top couple of slots, it makes sense to listen to offers if they’ll include pieces that would get New York immediately closer to playoff contention.

Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected after tackling Bulls’ Mike Dunleavy (VIDEO)

Milwaukee Bucks v Portland Trail Blazers

The Bucks were in the process of being eliminated by the Bulls in humiliating fashion, and Giannis Antetokounmpo evidently decided that he wasn’t interested in sticking around to see the final result.

Late in the second quarter with his team trailing by 30 points, Antetokounmpo tackled Mike Dunleavy long after he launched a three-point shot that splashed home, and was ejected as a result of his inappropriate actions.

It’s unclear if Dunleavy did anything in this particular game to earn such violence, or if his play throughout the series had gotten under Antetokounmpo’s skin.

Either way, the Bucks are on their way to a long summer vacation, and the young Antetokounmpo decided to head out a little bit earlier than the rest of his teammates.