ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne recently reported LaMarcus Aldridge is more likely to leave the Trail Blazers in free agency than most realize.
Is this just a Los Angeles writer opining?
The same message is coming from Aldridge’s own locker room.
Some Blazers players have already said they are worried free agency will take Aldridge away from Portland this summer. Earlier this month, before a home game, a Blazers player estimated the chances of him returning to Portland at 50-50.
It’s possible the Portland players are influenced by Shelburne’s report – or vice versa. So, these aren’t necessarily independent accounts.
But Aldridge’s teammates see him at times no reporter does. It’s more telling they’re unconvinced he’ll re-sign.
Of course, he said he planned to stay with the Trail Blazers, and that matters, too. But because the Collective Bargaining Agreement made it impractical for Aldridge to sign an extension, that opened the door for other teams to court him this summer.
Plans change, and the Trail Blazers – who just got dominated by the Grizzlies in Game 1 – have an uphill battle to leave a good taste in Aldridge’s mouth heading into free agency. Sure, injuries to Wesley Matthews, Arron Afflalo and Dorell Wright might be bad luck. But the feeling of winning a playoff series or two would help sway Aldridge, and that’s less likely to happen now.
I still think Aldridge stays, but nobody should take it as a given.