Sam Amick of USA Today Sports reports that Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has reiteratedthat he is "happy here right now" in Portland and is focused on the current season. He also offers some interesting thoughts on the 2012-13 season, his first year under coach Terry Stotts.
When asked what the current message to management is, Aldridge said, "It's not 'If there's a better deal, then get me out of (Portland) or take that. It's 'We're here. Let's win, and let's try to have the best season that we can.'"
"I think having Terry adjust to having older players has been great too," Aldridge continued. "I feel like last year, we were so young that it was just too strict for me last year. I went from having (teammates in) Marcus Camby, Andre Miller and Gerald Wallace - (players) who coaches know that those guys are pros so it wasn't as strict - to having this really young team last year where everything was just so strict that I didn't know how to handle it. But this year I feel like coach is giving us a little bit more leeway of (saying) 'I have veterans now,' so it's been good for me."
Amick's full story is right here.
I wrote a little about the developing relationship between Stotts and his players on Saturday night.
The Aldridge trade rumors have come to a halt after a busy summer.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey memorably addressed the subject at Media Day...
Rumors around LaMarcus Aldridge
"Oh dear God, would you guys get over it? How many -- asked and answered. Thank you [to Chris Haynes], by the way. What else, guys? Show me a media report where LaMarcus Aldridge has said anything other than, 'I hope the team improves, I'm excited about what we did, I want to get better and I want to win.' Then we can have a conversation. Until then, let's move on. OK? Is that possible.
"It's not breaking news, dude. We covered it in July. Guys, let's talk about something, someone has got to have a better question than that."
Fans still wonder about it
"Why? Why do they? What have they read that has indicated anything other, here's Ben Golliver from Blazersedge, who basically copies and pastes every article that's written about everybody about the Trail Blazers. Which he does and it's great.
"And the entire string that Ben showed, right, the entire string around LaMarcus, other than one, said, 'I want to get better. I want to win. I want to be on a playoff team. I don't want to go through a rebuild.' Right? 'I like what we did this offseason. I haven't given Neil a chance yet. I like what we did. I like the additions. I'm excited about coming back. I never asked for a trade.' Every one of them. So I don't know where you're getting this from? Where? Where are you getting this from? Guys, move on."
Also at Media Day, Aldridge said that he was "happy" and that the chatter was "blown out of proportion."
What do you want to see from the team to stay long-term?
"I'm not going to get into all of that. I'm here, I'm happy, I'm looking forward to this season. This team looks really good. We have a better bench, we have [Robin] Lopez, who is a true center. This year should be good for us."
Why frustrated last year?
"It was just frustration because I'm a winner. I want to win. We weren't winning, I was frustrated and things got blown out of proportion. That's it."
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported in September that Aldridge rumors should subside.
Aldridge told Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports in August that he was "extremely frustrated" by Portland's 2012-13 season but that he hasn't asked for a trade.
Blazers' [LaMarcus Aldridge] tells Yahoo Sports he was extremely frustrated with last season but not to the point where he asked for a trade.
"I wasnt ready to make a move yet. I was just frustrated in the moment. I haven't given Neil (Olshey) a chance yet," [Aldridge] told Yahoo.
Aldridge told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com in August that he doesn't want to be traded.
CSNNW.com reported that if moves weren't made to your liking, you would prefer to be moved. Was that accurate?
"Yeah, but I don't have to worry about that because we've added some good pieces this summer and I'm looking forward to working with them."
Prior to those interviews, Haynes previously reported that Aldridge's representatives met with Blazers GM Neil Olshey in Las Vegas to discuss trade possibilities.
Olshey told Blazersedge in July that his discussions with Aldridge would remain private, but that Aldridge was "pleased" with Portland's 2013 offseason. Olshey said in August that Aldridge is "happy" and "excited" and that he sees the team's plan.
Blazers coach Terry Stotts told Blazersedge in July that he's received no indication of unhappiness from Aldridge this summer.
Haynes previously reported that Aldridge "loves Portland" but is interested in a trade if substantial improvements to the roster aren't made. The Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks were listed as his desired destinations.
Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported before the Draft in June that Aldridge "wants out" of Portland and believes the city is "too small" and "too boring." Olshey was quoted as saying that he wasn't making outgoing trade calls about Aldridge but that he would listen if the phone rang, and that Aldridge hadn't yet issued a trade demand.
Back in May, Aldridge offered this assessment of his standing with the Blazers.
LA: You know, as of now I'm here and we have a great team. I'm here now and we have a team that can definitely get better next year and we have cap room so we can bring in players. So I'm definitely here, and we'll see what happens.
During his April exit interview, Aldridge suggested it could take two years for the Blazers to return to the playoffs.
Where this team is headed: "This year was a down year. I think it was better than what people thought it would be, it ended bad. I think if we add one or two pieces this summer and we have one OK season, I feel like that following season we should be good, really good."
Timeline for improvement: "I think just getting into the playoffs isn't good. I've done that. I think one year of maybe, barely getting in or not getting in, and that next year we should be able to really be serious about it."
Here was Blazers GM Neil Olshey's response to Aldridge's April exit interview comments.
I don't think you can speculate today because I don't know what free agency is going to bring, I don't know what the draft is going to bring, I don't know what trades are going to bring. But I know we're going to do everything we can to build the roster. To sit here and put an artificial expectation on what a roster may or may not be when you only have eight returning players and you haven't drafted yet or gone into free agency doesn't make a lot of sense.
But I do know from L.A.'s perspective, we talked, and he knows we're going to be aggressive in building the roster. I'd like to think the improvement from the guys who are already here on top of the guys we're going to bring in will make us a factor faster rather than later.
Aldridge predicted in October that the Blazers would make the playoffs as the Western Conference's No. 7 seed.
Aldridge, 28, is averaging 25.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists so far this season.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter