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.
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.