The Miami Heat are rumored to be after LaMarcus Aldridge, but instead of jumping into the crowded sweepstakes this year, Pat Riley is reportedly taking a more long-term approach.
As a handful of teams have been meeting with the former Portland Trailblazers star, rumors have surfaced that Riley is trying to advise Aldridge to keep the Heat in mind for next season instead.
Rival execs think Pat Riley’s message to LaMarcus Aldridge last night was essentially where ever u sign go short & I’ll be back next summer.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 3, 2015
Aldridge has been meeting with a handful of teams, including an unexpected visit with Riley on Thursday night. But it appears that LaMarcus could be leaning elsewhere for the coming season.
“But according to a person with knowledge of Aldridge’s situation, it was – other than a nice dinner – much ado about nothing,” Sam Amick of USA Today reported of the star’s meeting with Riley. “Entering Friday, the LaMarcus leaderboard is believed to still have the San Antonio Spurs up top, with the Phoenix Suns second and the Dallas Mavericks a darkhorse of sorts from there.”
Amick reported that the Los Angeles Lakes and Houston Rockets were losing ground in the LaMarcus Aldridge sweepstakes while the Phoenix Suns are moving to the lead. The Suns have already added Tyson Chandler and along with guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe, they have a tempting setting.
They will likely still have some stiff competition. Although the Lakers reportedly fell flat in their first meeting with Aldridge, they got a second chance on Thursday and reportedly caught more of his attention. The Dallas Mavericks are also making a strong move at Aldridge.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich looking for another meeting w LaMarcus Aldridge today or tomorrow, per source.
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) July 3, 2015
But the Miami Heat rumors are among the most interesting regarding Aldridge’s future. The Heat have already convinced Dwyane Wade to re-up, and Wade sounds convinced that CEO Nick Arison and managing general partner Micky Arison have a solid plan for the team’s future.
“Sitting down with Nick, sitting down with Micky and having conversations with them that I’ve never had, that was big for me,” Wade told The Associated Press. “I’ve never had a business conversation with one of them…. They got to show me how much they really wanted me to be here, how important it was for them that I continue to wear one jersey.”
But given the team’s apparently long-term approach, the rumors regarding LaMarcus Aldridge and the Miami Heat aren’t likely to dissipate anytime soon, even if he signs elsewhere.
[Image via Getty Images/Christian Petersen]