JULY 9TH, 2:39pm: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.
JULY 4TH, 11:21am: The Spurs and unrestricted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge have reached an agreement that will bring the talented forward to San Antonio, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter links). The arrangement will be for four years, and approximately $80MM, Wojnarowski notes, almost assuredly a max deal. The pact also includes a player option for the final season, the Yahoo! scribe relays.
The deal between San Antonio and Aldridge brings his nine year career with the Trail Blazers to a close. The 29-year-old appeared in 71 games for Portland during the 2014/15 campaign, averaging 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 35.4 minutes of action per contest. His shooting numbers last season were .466/.352/.845. Aldridge’s career numbers through 648 games, all with the Blazers, are 19.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 1.9 APG, with a slash line of .485/.276/.796.
The departure of Aldridge doesn’t come as surprise to the Blazers, who were informed by the forward on Friday night that he had narrowed his choices down to either the Spurs or the Suns, Wojnarowski tweets. A source told David Pick of Eurobasket.com as early as Wednesday that Aldridge would sign with the Spurs and turn down the hard-charging Suns (Twitter links), though he continued to take meetings in the days that followed. Aldridge had two sit-downs with the Lakers, and also met with the Heat, Rockets, Raptors, and Mavs during the free agent process. He cancelled a scheduled meeting with the Knicks, who never appeared to be serious contenders to land the big man.
Aldridge’s signing will have an impact outside of lining the forward’s pockets and giving the Spurs a new star to pair alongside Kawhi Leonard, who reached an agreement on a five year, estimated $90MM contract of his own with the team on Wednesday. Popovich, who has mulled calling it quits when Tim Duncan decides to hang up his sneakers and retire, is now looking to coach for the four remaining years on his contract, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. San Antonio is now aggressively pursuing unrestricted free agent David West as it reloads for 2015/16, tweets Wojnarowski.
Phoenix is likely heartbroken over missing out on the star forward, as it had reportedly made a strong impression on Aldridge, and he would have been the star the team so desperately seeks to acquire. The Suns would have instead focused on trying to convince Kevin Love to come to Arizona if Aldridge had simply stuck to his pledge of a year ago to re-sign with the Blazers, Jake Fischer of SI Now relays (via Twitter). Love has reportedly agreed to a five-year deal for about $110MM with Cleveland. While the agreement cannot be finalized until July 9th, it would indeed have been a shocking turn of events for Love to spurn the Cavs for the Suns, so Phoenix will have to settle for Tyson Chandler as its lone coup on the big man market.