After spending nine seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers and only reaching the second round of the playoffs once, LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs in hopes of a better chance to win an NBA title.
Rick Barnes, who coached the power forward at the University of Texas, told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News that Aldridge deserves credit for doing whatever it takes to reach that goal.
"“What he wants is to win an NBA championship. He’ll do whatever he feels he has to do to make that happen."
In July, Aldridge signed a four-year max contract to join the Spurs, who most recently raised a championship banner following the 2013-14 NBA season. The 30-year-old is viewed as Tim Duncan’s successor—though not necessarily the future Hall of Famer’s replacement.
San Antonio boasts a blossoming superstar in Kawhi Leonard and a deadly three-point marksman in Danny Green, so while Duncan, Manu Ginobili and even Tony Parker are reaching the end of their respective careers, the Spurs’ championship window remains wide open with Aldridge in the fold.
Don’t mess with the Spurs, man.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 4, 2015
Granted, the NBA’s leader in two-point shots attempted for three straight years must adapt to San Antonio’s team-oriented system, which will definitely drop Aldridge’s scoring numbers. Per McDonald, though, Barnes doesn’t foresee that being an issue.
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“He’s a tremendous teammate,” Barnes said. “He’s a team player. He knows he’s a franchise-type guy, but he also has to have people around him. Credit to him for wanting to be part of something special.”
While Aldridge will be flanked by players capable of helping him reach the ultimate prize, now, the Spurs roster must gel together quickly before the regular season begins. The Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers are each built to emerge from the Western Conference and the Cleveland Cavaliers likely await the victor, so it certainly won’t be easy for Aldridge to attain his first ring.
But he’s willing to do whatever it takes to earn that jewelry. Aldridge’s move to San Antonio already proved it.