Grantland’s Zach Lowe spoke with a half-dozen executives from four different teams who brought up the possibility that LaMarcus Aldridge would sign with the Spurs this summer. It’s still unlikely that the All-Star power forward winds up with San Antonio, Lowe asserts, noting that Aldridge pledged this past summer to re-sign with the Blazers when he hits free agency after this season. The Spurs declined to give Kawhi Leonard a max extension this past fall, reportedly in part to preserve flexibility to sign a max-level free agent this summer in case Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili retire. The Blazers have nonetheless always been leery of teams from Aldridge’s native Texas above all other potential suitors for the 29-year-old who hits free agency this coming summer, according to Lowe. A November report indicated that the Mavs planned a run at him, though that was before Dallas acquired Rajon Rondo, and the Mavs would have to renounce their rights to some desirable free agents to chase Aldridge, as Lowe points out.
The Grantland scribe has more tidbits picked up from this past weekend’s D-League showcase in his must-read column, and we’ll focus on the news related to player movement here:
- Larry Sanders will likely miss many more than 10 games on his latest drug-related suspension, according to Lowe, who hears from league sources who expect the Bucks and Sanders to eventually strike up buyout talks. Sanders is in the first year of a four-year, $44MM extension.
- The Celtics have been calling teams in the past week and letting them know that they’re willing to take on cap-eating contracts, Lowe writes. Boston is over the cap but about $11.8MM shy of the luxury tax line this season, and the Celtics have only about $33.5MM in commitments for next season.
- There’s “major skepticism” that the Suns will be able to acquire a first-round draft pick in exchange for Miles Plumlee, Lowe hears. That’s certainly no surprise, though Phoenix is looking for a first-rounder as they shop the big man, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported Sunday.
- Executives from teams around the NBA have tried to sell league brass on an earlier trade deadline, Lowe reports, suggesting that the teams are aiming to move the deadline up by at least a week or two. This year’s deadline is February 19th.