Two summers ago, LaMarcus Aldridge made the surprise decision to sign with the San Antonio Spurs. It brought an end to his nine-year tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers. In a recent interview with ESPN.com, his former teammate Nicolas Batum revealed when he knew exactly when that Aldridge was leaving the team.
“LaMarcus was a free agent, Wesley Matthews was a free agent, and Robin Lopez was a free agent. So when I got traded, I’m like, OK, its over. LA is gone. When I got traded, I knew LA was gone.”
“No, no, no. I mean, he gotta do his own thing. I mean, I don’t even talk about him, with him, about that, and when I got traded, I knew, just, it was over. I mean, it turned the page, it was gonna give the team to Damian [Lillard] and CJ [McCollum]. I mean, that’s a good thing, because sometimes you need to… just to turn the page.”
The Trail Blazers went through a total facelift with their focus on building a team through the backcourt. There was a strong desire from the franchise to re-sign Aldridge, but he chose to take his talent elsewhere. That said, it’s a move that has worked out for both sides.
The Spurs are still one of the top teams in the Western Conference with Aldridge as one of the centerpieces. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are a promising team led by their dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. It will be interesting to see which franchise is most successful in the long run.