Amidst LaMarcus Aldridge’s issues with the San Antonio Spurs in 2017, he reportedly looked into a return to the Portland Trail Blazers.
While the Kawhi Leonard hoopla takes over the headlines for the San Antonio Spurs, it was just one year ago that another star wanted out of the Alamo City: LaMarcus Aldridge. Nothing came to fruition, though, after a heart-to-heart talk with head coach Gregg Popovich.
How badly did Aldridge desire to leave the Spurs, though? So much that he called Damian Lillard, a former teammate, to “approach” Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey on a return, according to Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger. This was included amongst rumors on Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs organization in an extensive report.
Without Leonard for all but nine games, Aldridge became the main offensive piece. He averaged 23.1 points per game, just 0.3 shy of his career-high in 2014-15, the final season in Portland. The offense worked around the Texas product, with no Spur close to his numbers. Whether it was Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol or Patty Mills, while all made an impact, it did not compare to what Aldridge meant for this team en route to the postseason.
So, it’s obviously great for the Silver and Black that Aldridge agreed to stay. Otherwise, who knows where this team would have been in 2017-18? Do they even come close to the playoff scene? That’s an interesting “what if,” but luckily one the organization does not have to worry about.
Aldridge spent the first nine years of his career with the Blazers, making four All-Star Games and averaging 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He was the centerpiece of the team before Lillard entered the NBA in 2012.
In the 2015 offseason, Aldridge left Portland for San Antonio, signing a multi-year deal. However, after the relationship issues in 2017 were mended, he re-signed for three years.