The San Antonio Spurs news cycle went haywire when former All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge responded to a tweet, but he cleared the air on Wednesday.
His answer? San Antonio Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge, who quoted the tweet with the ? looking “eyes” emoji, stirring up the fanbase that’s rooted for him since he signed in the River City back in 2014. For as much as the Spurs community was prepared to freak out that arguably their best player was prepared to move on and return to his former team, Aldridge addressed it in an interview with former Spurs beat writer Michael C. Wright, who writes for NBA.com nowadays.
During the interview, Aldridge discussed his relationship with Dame, assistant coach Tim Duncan and the Spurs fanbase. He dropped a ton of interesting tidbits, so I’d suggest you give the piece a read if you’ve got some extra time to kill, but we’ve got the highlights for you here.
In regards to the online interaction with Dame and the Trail Blazers’ social media, Aldridge was blatant in his hopes for retirement:
As I think about it, I think I would be cool with it ending in two places, either with San Antonio or in Portland. I think either one would be fine with me. I feel like I’ve made some good memories in San Antonio. I feel like I’m in a really good family in San Antonio. They understand me. I understand them. So, I like that. I feel I have a lot of history in Portland. So, going back there to finish would be fine also. I’m perfectly fine with finishing my career in San Antonio riding it out until my next chapter, or if things have to change there, and if they decide to go young, then I wouldn’t mind going to Portland.
This is open to interpretation because he’s leaving open the window that many Spurs fans are hoping for. Even Aldridge himself sees the team’s opportunity to buy-in on the youth movement and build from the ground up.
Aldridge is humble, hardworking and is a perfect fit for the culture of the organization. Having a class-act like him has been a pleasure for Spurs and regardless of what comes next, the team should be proud to have been home to a player like him.
He also addressed the 22-year playoff streak and how he’s approaching the reality that the historic milestone is on the line:
I think the pressure should be on ourselves to just make the playoffs, for this team, for this moment, for ourselves and all the work that we put in. That streak is definitely big-time, and you don’t want to be the team that ends it.
He went on to talk about his relationship with his former teammate and current assistant coach, the great Tim Duncan:
He’s pretty laid back. He coached when he played. He was like a player-coach on the court. So, I feel like it’s the same. He’s still gonna shoot jokes at you. He’s still gonna come in and try to play five-on-five any time he can. He’s still going to point things out if he sees anything…
He can still get some buckets. When you have that IQ, and you have a tiny bit of skill left [you can score]. He can’t move like he used to, but he has skill and he has a tiny bit of mobility left.
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The relationship between Duncan and Aldridge has always been solid, so it’s not a surprise to hear that this is holding true during Duncan’s transition to the next phase of his career. LaMarcus also noted that he spoke to Coach Gregg Popovich as recently as last week and that the historic figure is probably missing the game as much as the players are about now.
In case you’re wondering how LaMarcus has been doing during the hiatus, the seven-time All-Star is trying to keep in shape by running on the treadmill, biking, lifting weights and trying to work mobility into his daily routine. Besides that, he’s been binge-watching television shows like the rest of us, citing his interest in Ozark and All-American.
If this interview tells you one thing about LaMarcus Aldridge, it should be that he’s a down-to-earth player who deserves the benefit of the doubt over something as trivial as a tweet.
After all, Aldridge has been an All-NBA caliber talent holding it down for San Antonio for the last five seasons and considering the team guaranteed his contract for next year, that’s not likely to change in the near future.