LaMarcus Aldridge won’t sign a contract extension with the Trail Blazers, opting to become a free agent next summer.
He says he’ll re-sign in Portland, and that’s probably the most likely option. He can make a lot more money by signing a new contract rather than extending his current one.
But once Aldridge hits free agency and other teams come calling, maybe he hears something he likes. Until he actually re-signs, there’s always a chance he leaves.
Could the Mavericks tempt the Texas native?
Before the question was even asked in its entirety, Dirk Nowitzki was ready to tap the brakes.
The subject was Portland star and Seagoville product LaMarcus Aldridge and the possibility that Nowitzki and other Maverick players might want to start their sales pitches to Aldridge as soon as possible. The 6-11 power forward will be one of the NBA’s most attractive free agents in the summer of 2015.
“Ease up on that,” he said.
“I think I’ve showed in my career that I can play with anybody in this league,” Nowitzki said, clearly warming up to the idea. “In some situations, he’s playing the five [center] when they go small, so …”
He didn’t have to finish the thought. Great players love playing with other great players. And at this point in his career, there is no doubting Aldridge’s greatness.
Though Nowitzki and Aldridge share similar mid-range games, Nowitzki is mostly right: He can play with anyone – offensively. There’s enough room on the court for both players to shoot jumpers and work inside. A Nowitzki-Aldridge duo would have defensive issues, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
The Mavericks are slated to have near-max cap room, though they still couldn’t offer as much as the Trail Blazers. Dallas would have to make a very impressive pitch to draw Aldridge from Portland, but that process could start at any time.
As Joakim Noah with Carmelo Anthony and Chandler Parsons with Dwight Howard have shown, the NBA does not consider players talking to each other tampering. Recruiting can start early.
Nowitzki might want to “ease up” right now, but if he wants to play with Aldridge, he should work on his selling points well before Aldridge becomes a free agent July 1.