It’s understandable that LaMarcus Aldridge would leave the chaos in Portland for a well-run organization like the Spurs, writes John Canzano of The Oregonian. The writer blames repeated turnover in the Blazers’ front office and a commitment to Damian Lillard over Aldridge for pushing the free agent forward out of town. Aldridge announced Saturday that he had accepted a four-year deal from San Antonio worth approximately $80MM, and Canzano writes that Aldridge’s refusal to meet with Lillard before making the decision was a sign of their fractured relationship.
There’s more news out of San Antonio:
- The addition of Aldridge will cause the Spurs to intensify their push to get another year out of Manu Ginobili, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein writes that San Antonio needs him to return to solidify its depth. Ginobili will announce his decision through La Nacion, an Argentinian newspaper.
- With plenty of roster work remaining, the Spurs had little time to celebrate the Aldridge decision, writes Mike Monroe of The Express-News. The salary cap may limit San Antonio to minimum contracts as it fills out its roster, although the team has a $2.814MM room exception available. The team dealt Tiago Splitter to Atlanta and lost free agents Marco Belinelli and Aron Baynes, but hasn’t yet renounced any of its free agents — Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayres, Cory Joseph and Reggie Williams. Monroe believes Bonner and Ayres may return next season, but Joseph, a restricted free agent, could get more money elsewhere. Free agent David West has been rumored to have interest in the Spurs, and Monroe sees Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola and Ray Allen as other possibilities.
- It was an out-of-character gamble that brought Aldridge to San Antonio, contends Jeff McDonald of The Express-News. GM R.C. Buford had been preparing for this off-season for years, McDonald writes, timing contracts so that two-thirds of the roster would expire at the same time. That gave him the flexibility to offer a maximum deal to a big name like Aldridge.
- Aldridge penned a letter to Blazers fans Saturday thanking them for their support, Canzano relays in a separate story. “As I’m sure you can respect, my decision was a very personal one but not one I took lightly,” Aldridge wrote. “Although I will be wearing a different uniform the next time I come back to Portland, please know that I will always hold my time in a Blazers uniform near and dear to my heart.”