Author: Brett Pollakoff

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

Report: Spurs might get a free agent meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge


LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the more high-profile players who will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent this summer, and reports continue to emerge that he may be one of the few max guys who would actually consider bolting his current situation on order to play somewhere else.

One said Aldridge was more likely to leave than people realize, while another quoted an anonymous teammate in estimating the chances of him returning to Portland are 50-50, at best.

If Aldridge does look around to see where the grass might be greener, he’d be hard-pressed to find a more appealing option than the one which may be available to him in San Antonio with the Spurs.

From Zach Lowe of Grantland:

The Spurs accepted that risk because waiting to bump up Leonard’s salary gives them the chance to dangle max cap space in front of Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge this summer. Neither is a good bet to leave his current team, but sources around the league have been saying for weeks that the Spurs might get a hearing with Aldridge — and that was before the Oregonian reported that at least one Blazers player thinks there is only a 50-50 chance that Aldridge stays in Portland.

(And no, I wouldn’t take that as gospel, either. Aldridge said before the season that he wants to be the greatest Blazer ever.)

Marc Gasol has similarly been linked to the Spurs, but his connection to Memphis seems strong enough to where his leaving in free agency seems like a long shot.

With Aldridge, though, the rumblings are probably there for a reason. We won’t know exactly how serious things are until Portland’s season has come to a close, but you’d have to believe a first-round playoff exit at the hands of Gasol’s Grizzlies would have him ready to, at the very least, strongly consider his options.

Raptors’ Lou Williams: ‘Staying in Toronto would be ideal for me’

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets

The Raptors didn’t give up much at all to get Lou Williams in trade last summer, but that’s likely to change if they want to keep him on the roster beyond this season.

Williams won Sixth Man of the Year for averaging 15.5 points in 25.2 minutes per game as a reserve, and the timing couldn’t have been better for him personally, considering he’s in the final year of his deal and will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Teams are expected to get a little nuts with contracts in advance of next season, because even if they overpay for players now, those deals will look like bargains once the salary cap spikes in a big way over the next two seasons. Williams says he wants to remain in Toronto, but it’s unclear if the Raptors will offer enough to make it worth his while.

From Josh Lewenberg of

“[Staying in Toronto] would be ideal for me,” he said. “Just the culture that they’re building here, just the identity that this team and this town has, I really want to be a part of it. I look forward to it. I don’t want to say hopefully we get something done, I’m really positive that we will get something done. I don’t see why not, at this point. So I just look forward to the future here.”

Of course, a lot could change between now and July, when NBA free agency officially opens. It takes two to tango – the Raptors would have to be willing to pay up in order to keep Williams from moving south and with the salary cap set to skyrocket the following summer, the market figures to be an unpredictable one.

If another team believes Williams can provide value as a starter while playing heavier minutes per game, it may be willing to come with a high-dollar offer that scares Toronto away.

But Williams has been a reserve for essentially all 10 of his NBA seasons, and if that’s the role he’ll maintain, the Raptors should have no trouble extending an offer that’s to Williams’ liking, and one that’s in line with what he could earn by jumping ship to play somewhere else.

MORE: CSN Washington subscriber? Watch Raptors-Wizards Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET

Hawks’ Mike Budenholzer named 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year

Mike Budenholzer

The Hawks came out of nowhere to win 60 games during the regular season and finish as the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.

As a reward for the accomplishment, Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer was named Coach of the Year.

The race was fairly close, mainly because there was a go0d argument to be made for Steve Kerr winning it in his first season with the Warriors, for taking a good team and turning them into one that’s potentially historically great.

I’m not sure I agree with Kidd and Stevens finishing third and fourth respectively, mainly because of their team’s won-loss records. The Bucks finished 41-41, and the Celtics finished sub-.500 at 40-42 in the watered-down Eastern Conference.

Gregg Popovich gets overlooked because he’s been guiding the Spurs to at least 50 wins going on 16 straight seasons, and would have been a better choice for third; three of us placed Popovich there on our hypothetical ballots.

But this was a two-man race all along, and Budenholzer winning the award for what he did with this Hawks team was indeed well-deserved.

Full voting results can be viewed below, and if you’re just dying to know who, exactly, decided that Jeff Hornacek was worthy of a vote, a complete list of who voted for whom can be viewed here.

Coach, Team                                           1st                           2nd                      3rd                     Pts

Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta                         67                       58                       4                          513

Steve Kerr, Golden State                              56                       61                       8                          471

Jason Kidd, Milwaukee                                  1                          5                          37                       57

Brad Stevens, Boston                                     2                          4                          28                       50

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio                     3                          —                         23                       38

Kevin McHale, Houston                                 —                         —                         13                       13

Tom Thibodeau, Chicago                              1                          1                          2                          10

Quin Snyder, Utah                                           —                         1                          4                          7

David Blatt, Cleveland                                    —                         —                         3                          3

Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers                                —                         —                         2                          2

Terry Stotts, Portland                                     —                         —                         2                          2             

Rick Carlisle, Dallas                                         —                         —                         1                          1

Dwane Casey, Toronto                                     —                         —                         1                          1

Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix                                   —                         —                         1                          1

Monty Williams, New Orleans                       —                         —                         1                          1