LaMarcus Aldridge made it clear over the summer that he intends to re-sign with the Blazers when his contract expires after this season, but the Mavs plan to see if the Texas native will change his mind and sign with them instead, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. It’ll be a long shot, as Sefko points out, but while Dirk Nowitzki stopped short of making a public recruiting pitch, he’s nonetheless made it clear that the idea of playing with Aldridge appeals to him, Sefko observes.
The Mavs have just $28.7MM in commitments for 2015/16 and only three players with fully guaranteed contracts, though that doesn’t include more than $16.6MM combined in player options for Monta Ellis, Raymond Felton, Jameer Nelson and Al-Farouq Aminu. Dallas likely would still have enough flexibility to float a maximum-salary offer to Aldridge, who grew up in nearby Seagoville, Texas, even if all four player options are exercised. The former University of Texas standout nonetheless reiterated at the start of training camp that he wants to re-sign with Portland, even though he’ll surely draw interest from teams around the league as one of the best free agents in the 2015 class.
There were trade rumors involving Aldridge throughout 2013, but after the Blazers sprinted to a fast start in 2013/14, he warmed to the idea of a long-term future with the team. Aldridge said this summer that he’s looking forward to the chance to sign a five-year contract, which would only be possible if he signs a new deal with Portland this coming offseason. He could only tack an additional three years onto his existing deal if he were to sign the max extension that the Blazers have offered, and he could only receive a four-year pact if he signed with a team other than Portland.
Still, it doesn’t appear that the Wasserman Media Group client is looking to truly make the most of his earnings potential. Aldridge, in his ninth season, will be eligible for a maximum salary worth approximately 30% of the cap next summer, but if he signs a one-year deal, he’d not only hit free agency again in 2016, when the league’s new $24 billion TV deal kicks in, but he’d also be eligible for a higher maximum salary. Veterans of 10 or more seasons can make up to about 35% of the cap, but Aldridge is reportedly uninterested in signing for just one season next summer.