Author: Brett Pollakoff

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three

Blazers GM denies report LaMarcus Aldridge told team he would leave in free agency


Of all the marquee free agents out there — a group that technically includes LeBron James, Kevin Love and Marc Gasol — LaMarcus Aldridge is the one most have their eyes on as a guy who could potentially change teams.

A recent report claimed that Aldridge has already informed the Blazers that he won’t be back, but Portland’s GM strongly denied it, while claiming that a decision on Aldridge’s future has yet to be made.

From Mike Tokito of the Oregonian:

After all the recent reports that LaMarcus Aldridge was not going to return to the Trail Blazers, general manager Neil Olshey – in one of his regular telephone conversations with the All-Star power forward – asked Aldridge about it.

“I actually asked him how would you like me to address it,” Olshey said. “He said, ‘Just say it’s not true. You and I know where we’re at right now.'” …

“It was misreported, it’s not true,” Olshey said. “I can tell you he has not informed anybody in this organization his intention not to return to this team.” …

“We’ve always known that LaMarcus is going to have a robust free agent market,” he said. “It was a market we were going to compete in. It’s a market we’re still planning to compete in. But in no way has he given us any indication that he’s not returning to the Trail Blazers.”

This report, coming directly from Olshey, is easier to believe than the one that claimed Aldridge was already gone.

Until the Blazers sit down with Aldridge to discuss contract options, and until Aldridge meets with suitors that are expected to include the Lakers and the Spurs, it’s impossible to determine which way he’ll lean in terms of making a decision about his free agent future.

There aren’t any reasons for Aldridge to declare he’s hell bent on leaving Portland, at least on the surface. It may eventually play out that way, but for now, it appears as though the Blazers still have at least a puncher’s chance at retaining his services.

Sergio Rodriguez is mulling a return to the NBA

Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four Madrid 2015 - Champion Trophy Ceremony

Sergio Rodriguez played four seasons in the NBA, but has been out of the league since the end of the 2010 season.

He was at times a capable reserve here in the states, but has emerged into much more than that while playing overseas.

The recent success Rodriguez has experienced has him considering a return to NBA action.

From Jason Quick of the Oregonian:

Former Trail Blazers point guard Sergio Rodriguez on Saturday said he is mulling a return to the NBA this summer and will wait “to see how the market is” after the free agent period opens July 1.

Since leaving the NBA in 2010, Rodriguez has become one of the best players in Europe. Rodriguez led Real Madrid to the 2015 Euroleague championship and was the 2014 Euroleague MVP. He says he has three years left on his contract, but said his contract has a reasonable buyout.

The Blazers, who traded backup point guard Steve Blake on Thursday, will be in the market for a backup point guard before next season. Rodriguez is a pick-and-roll specialist with a flair for passing.

Rodriguez played his first three NBA seasons in Portland, so a reunion with the Blazers may make sense for both sides.

He holds career NBA averages of 4.3 points and 2.9 assists in 13.2 minutes per contest.

Report: Kings owner gave agent for DeMarcus Cousins permission to pursue a trade

Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings

Kings decision-maker Vlade Divac won’t be bullied into trading away DeMarcus Cousins, but if ownership would get out of the way, his job would be a whole lot easier.

As news of the Lakers working on a deal with Sacramento became reported, with Kings head coach George Karl appearing to be pushing for a trade behind the scenes, it seemed as though pressure was being applied to Divac to make something happen.

But as it turned out, the agent for Cousins was the one behind it all — at ownership’s behest.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

So when [agent for DeMarcus Cousins Dan Fegan] tried to orchestrate a trade that would send Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers in the days leading up to the draft – one that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive gave him permission to pursue when he made it clear that Cousins wanted out – it wouldn’t have shocked anyone if Divac decided to do the deal just to quiet this storm. Instead, he’s trying to fix a fractured situation on his terms.

When asked about the unhealthy dynamic between Karl and Cousins and the idea that they may be able to work it out, Divac pulled no punches and left all options open in terms of what happens next.

“I’ll be honest with you, how I think right now, I think they got the message yesterday,” he said. “So here I am, and if you’re on board, (you’re) more than welcome. If you’re not, I’ve got to go. I can’t wait. We do have everything except time. We have to go forward and try to make it a healthy environment and try to have a good team for next year.

This is where I remind you that the Kings paid three different head coaches last season, all because ownership simply couldn’t make up its mind.

The indecision in Sacramento is troubling, to say the least. The public stance was that they wouldn’t entertain offers for Cousins, when privately, ownership authorized his agent to shop around.

Divac might be capable of making solid decisions that could raise the franchise out of the muck its been mired in for the past nine seasons. But that’s only if he’s allowed to do his job, and ownership in Sacramento has yet to give us any faith at all that they’ll let that be the case.