According to San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, LaMarcus Aldridge was the first player to ask for a trade in his two decades in charge.
If it wasn’t for LaMarcus Aldridge, where would the San Antonio Spurs be in the 2017-18 season? Injuries ravaged the team, including ones to Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Rudy Gay and Danny Green. Aldridge has been one of the few Spurs to stay healthy, which allowed him to take over the offense and become the go-to player.
Well, if the 2017 offseason was any indication, Aldridge almost departed San Antonio. He sat on the trade block at the 2017 NBA Draft, but nothing resulted. The famous heart-to-heart talk with head coach Gregg Popovich followed this, which led to both sides sticking with each other, along with a fresh contract extension for the 32-year-old.
Before Thursday’s game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, Popovich revealed why that talk happened in the first place, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright. Aldridge had asked him for a trade, which never happened in Popovich’s 20-plus years in charge.
Pop said his heart-to-heart w/LaMarcus Aldridge came as a result of Aldridge asking him for a trade. Said he'd never had a player ask him to be traded.
— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) January 12, 2018
It’s amazing a player asking for a trade took over 20 years to happen. This happens often in the NBA, with superstars’ desires to form superteams or sign with one of the largest markets. San Antonio doesn’t fit that description.
A potential reason for no one asking for a trade? The loyalty and commitment from players like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who were the stars of the team in the 2000’s. Duncan arrived in the midst of the David Robinson era, too.
Winning championships can’t be a bad thing, either. The organization has won five under Popovich. That’s an easy way to keep players happen.
After the offseason drama, Aldridge may be on his way to the 2018 All-Star Game. His performance pushed the Spurs to No. 3 in the Western Conference, while playing like he did on the Portland Trail Blazers. It won’t win him the 2017-18 NBA MVP, but the team’s MVP certainly belongs to him.