LaMarcus Aldridge checked in third when we did our last Free Agent Power Rankings in June, but he seems to have the league on a string now with LeBron James almost assuredly going back to Cleveland and Kawhi Leonard already reportedly committed to the Spurs. Aldridge reportedly met with the Lakers for a second time and the Heat for the first time Thursday, when he apparently canceled a meeting with the Knicks. We’ll use this post to track the client of Arn Tellem and Thaddeus Foucher today, with any new information added to the top:
- The Spurs and the Suns have solidified themselves as the favorites to land Aldridge, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.
- Spurs president/coach Gregg Popovich would like to have another meeting with Aldridge, and the team is confident that the power forward will choose San Antonio, as John Canzano of The Oregonian hears (Twitter links).
- Rival executives believe that Riley told Aldridge that he should sign a short-term deal if he goes elsewhere with the idea that the Heat would come calling again next summer, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.
- The Spurs are in the lead for Aldridge, with the Suns second and the Mavs a “darkhorse of sorts” in third, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. The Lakers, Rockets and Raptors don’t seem to have moved any closer, Amick adds, having heard that the Heat‘s meeting with Aldridge was “much ado about nothing” other than a nice dinner.
- Aldridge is genuinely torn and will need some more time to decide, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com hears (Twitter link). The Spurs and Suns are the front-runners, the Blazers are trying for a Hail Mary, the Mavericks are still in pursuit, the Lakers are flailing and the Knicks are in the green room, as Shelburne succinctly puts it (on Twitter).
- The meeting between Aldridge and Heat president Pat Riley went longer than expected Thursday, but the Texas teams (presumably meaning the Spurs and Mavs, though he’s met with the Rockets) remain out front for him, reports Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).
- The Lakers apologized to Aldridge for not giving him more of a basketball focus in their initial meeting, which was more than an hour old before GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott spoke, according to Shelburne (Twitter link).
- The presentation the Lakers made was a good one, but the team doesn’t believe Aldridge was wooed by it, sources tell Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).