Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge is probably one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason with several teams pursuing his services. There’s been a lot of buzz swirling around Aldridge, especially after claims that he was not re-signing with the Portland Trail Blazers. On July 1, Aldridge became an unrestricted free agent, many felt it was only a matter of time before he relieved a change in scenery. The Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs were said to be the top teams who had the best chances of landing the four-time All-Star.
Aldridge is from Texas and played for the Longhorns in his one year of college, and it’s no secret he has spoken highly of Coach Popovich and the Spurs organization several times. The Blazers believed that if he left Portland for any team, it will be the Spurs. Well that’s exactly what happened. Saturday on the Fourth of July LaMarcus Aldridge declared his independence, leaving the Portland Trail Blazers in free agency and committing to sign with the San Antonio Spurs.
LaMarcus Aldridge had been with the Blazers, since he was attained from the Chicago Bulls for a future second round draft pick and Tyrus Thomas back in June 28, 2006. From his rookie season where he essentially just provided 9 points, 0.4 assists, and 5 rebounds per game, the 29-year-old power forward has been amongst the best big men in the NBA. This past season he posted some impressive numbers, averaging 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1 block, and 1.7 turnovers per game.
On his way out the door, he left crushed hopes and some bruised Blazers fans and a letter to the Blazers fan base, delivered through Oregonian columnist John Canzano:
Dear Rip City, Thank you!
Those two words on a page don’t begin to express the gratitude I have for the opportunity the entire Trail Blazers organization, my teammates, the media, and you fans gave me. The past nine years have been a blessing, and I will take all of the valuable memories with me as I head back home.
As I’m sure you can respect, my decision was a very personal one but not one I took lightly. Although I will be wearing a different uniform the next time I come back to Portland, please know that I will always hold my time in a Blazers uniform near and dear to my heart.
Your friend, LA
NBA analyst Charles Barkley weighed in on the Aldridge signing on NBATV early Sunday morning, and he called the Spurs the “best organization in the NBA.” Watch the video below