LaMarcus Aldridge is indeed thinking of signing with the Spurs or Mavericks, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears, advancing his report from last week that those two teams believe they have a shot to lure him back to his native Texas. San Antonio is “near or at” the top of the Arn Tellem client‘s list, Stein writes, though he suggests the Cavaliers would come into the picture if Kevin Love were to somehow depart and the Cavs found a way to sign-and-trade for Aldridge. Stein reiterates that the Knicks and Lakers plan to go after Aldridge as well. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSSNE.com named the Blazers power forward as one of many marquee free agents the Celtics are expected to pursue this summer.
Aldridge spoke of an “amazing” nine years in Portland and said he’s “not trying to have that end” in a season-ending media session Thursday. It nonetheless seems as if more executives around the league believe that the former No. 2 overall pick will leave Portland in free agency this summer than think he’ll re-sign as he pledged to do last summer, according to Stein. Aldridge, who turns 30 this summer, said “we’ll see” when ESPN’s Chris Broussard asked him recently if the Blazers remained the front-runners for him, Stein notes. Aldridge first seemed to hint at dissatisfaction when he reflected to Michael Lee of The Washington Post on a time when he felt the Blazers didn’t support him, and he told Lee that he wondered how easily the team could move on without him.
Some Blazers observers think Damian Lillard‘s growing stature on the team bothers Aldridge, according to Stein. Still, Lillard, who’s reportedly insisting on a max extension this summer, has said he believes Aldridge will be back. Some Blazers are worried that Aldridge will leave, as The Oregonian’s Jason Quick reported, and one of them told Quick a few weeks ago that he thought it was a 50-50 proposition whether the All-Star power forward would re-sign.