LaMarcus Aldridge may be more willing to leave the Blazers this summer than previously thought, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne relayed in an appearance on the 710 ESPN Mason & Ireland Show (hat tip to Ryan Ward of LakersNation.com). “I think LaMarcus Aldridge is actually more in play than people think,” said Shelburne. “You have that group there. How can you really improve that group up in Portland? I think Neil Olshey has done a great job up there, but it’s Portland, he’s [Aldridge] never quite fit in and they’ve made it really clear that Damian Lillard is the face of their franchise.” Aldridge, who earned $16,256,000 for the 2014/15 season, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Enes Kanter, who can become a restricted free agent this summer if the Thunder extend him a qualifying offer worth $7,471,412, said he enjoyed his time in OKC, Berry Tramel and Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman writes. “I love it here,” Kanter said. “Oklahoma City was obviously a good fit for me from day one. They opened their arms. I just like playing with all of these guys. They give it 100% every time. I would definitely like to come back here.”
- Kanter also relayed that he is willing to come off the bench in the future, though part of his issues with the Jazz stemmed from playing time concerns, the Oklahoman scribes add. When discussing his next contract, the big man said, “I’m not nervous at all, and I have no idea what kind of contract I’m going to get. Like I said, I just want to be on a team, I just want to be happy and I just want to see this team get success and make the playoffs. I’m not nervous at all. That contract thing, my agent handles it. I’m not really worried about it.”
- Jameer Nelson has to make a decision on his player option worth $2,854,940 for next season. One of the determining factors for the veteran is who will be coaching the Nuggets for the 2015/16 campaign, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. The point guard is partial to interim coach Melvin Hunt, whom the team will reportedly consider retaining, Dempsey adds. Nelson is concerned about his playing time diminishing under a new coach, Dempsey notes. “Whatever I decide, I’ll definitely discuss with that team what my role would be,” said Nelson. “I feel like I’m definitely more than a 15 or 18-minute guy, for sure.“