The winner of the LaMarcus Aldridge sweepstakes is still anyone’s guess as eight teams are reportedly in the running for the top available free agent.
Aldridge is a four-time all-star who is coming off his second straight season of averaging a double-double for the Portland Trail Blazers. The soon-to-be 30-year-old averaged 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks a contest. He shot 46.6 percent from the field and made a career-best 37 three-pointers while shooting 35.2 percent from beyond the arc.
CBS Sports is reporting that while Aldridge has ruled out the New York Knicks, the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and Miami Heat are still in the running. The Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors are also reportedly not completely out of the mix.
The Lakers, coming off their worst season in franchise history with a.256 winning percentage, received a second interview with Aldridge yesterday, according to ESPN. The meeting reportedly lasted 90 minutes and focused entirely on basketball. The Lakers asked for the second meeting after rumors circulated they struck out in their first go-around with Aldridge. General manager Mitch Kupchack, coach Byron Scott, and assistant coach Mark Madsen were involved in the meeting this time. Kobe Bryant, however, was not.
Not long after meeting with the Lakers, Aldridge met with Heat president Pat Riley for dinner. The Heat’s foray into the sweepstakes is kind of surprising as they need to clear a lot of cap room to have the ability to offer Aldridge the max. Or as the Inquisitr reported, the Heat could do a sign and trade with Blazers for Aldridge for a package that could include Chris Bosh. However, the Blazers are believed to be against doing any sign-and-trade deals. The Heat have made two moves this offseason as they have re-signed Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade.
The Suns and the Spurs are considered the frontrunners for Aldridge services, with the Rockets being a close third. Phoenix cleared a lot of salary cap room by sending Marcus Morris, Danny Granger, and Reggie Bullock to the Detroit Pistons for a 2020 second round draft pick. Phoenix, which finished at 39-43 last year, has signed Tyson Chandler away from the Dallas Mavericks and re-signed guard Brandon Knight this summer.
Chandler’s signing could be a big coup for the Suns as Paul Coro, of the Arizona Republic, tweeted that Aldridge has wanted to play with Chandler.
The Spurs will have the majority of their core back this season after receiving word that Tim Duncan will return for his 19th season and re-signing Danny Green as well as Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs, who are still waiting on Manu Ginobili, also dealt Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks.
Portland is believed to be going with a youth movement, but the Oregonian reported that guard Damian Lillard is traveling to Los Angeles with the hope that he can meet with Aldridge directly and attempt to recruit him to stay in Portland. The Blazers have inked Ed Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu to free agent contracts. They also have traded for Gerald Henderson as well as Noah Vonleh.
Dallas signed Wes Matthews last night and are pursuing DeAndre Jordan on the open market. In the meanwhile, the Rockets are playing the wait-and-see game.
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