Heat team president Pat Riley tried to convince LaMarcus Aldridge to take Miami’s mid-level exception on a one-year deal this summer with the idea of re-signing him for the maximum salary using cap space in 2016, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter links). That conflicts with an earlier report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, who heard that Riley was selling Aldridge on the idea of signing a one-year deal with the Trail Blazers so that he could be available in 2016. The mid-level plan would have been a tough sell, especially since the Heat are limited to just the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level instead of the full $5.464MM. Aldridge ultimately wound up signing with the Spurs on a max deal that pays him $19.689MM this season. Next year’s maximum salary for Aldridge would be a projected $29.3MM, thanks to the rising salary cap and the fact that Aldridge would be a 10-year veteran and eligible for the highest maximum-salary bracket. Still, he ultimately decided against trying to recoup the losses of a financial sacrifice this season with a more lucrative max deal in 2016. See more from the Southeast Division:
- The Wizards have struggled on defense, ranking just 24th in defensive efficiency according to NBA.com, but coach Randy Wittman thinks the team’s newcomers are better defenders than those they replaced, notes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Alan Anderson, one of the team’s offseason signees and a key part of the team’s defensive upgrade, is out until December, though John Wall credits him for his voice in the locker room that’s helped keep the team from panicking amid its disappointing 3-4 start, as Michael details.
- The physicality of the NBA caught Hawks rookie Lamar Patterson by surprise, but he’s already had his moments, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders examines. Patterson has been in and out of the rotation already this season for Atlanta, though he hasn’t played in the past three games. The Hawks inked the 2014 No. 48 overall pick this past summer as a draft-and-stash signee.
- Hawks coach/executive Mike Budenholzer won’t be coaching tonight in the team’s game against the Celtics in Boston, since he’s returned to Atlanta to attend to a family matter, the team announced via press release. It’s unclear how long he’ll be away. Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson will be in charge for tonight’s game, the team says.