Jason Quick of The Oregonian writes that he believes Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge "wants out" of Portland and that he was a bit evasive in answering questions about his happiness with the team and city at the end of the regular season.
Throughout this summer, there have been rumors the Trail Blazers might trade LaMarcus Aldridge, and I'm not the least bit surprised. Not that I believe general manager Neil Olshey is looking to move the star power forward. But I believe Aldridge wants out.
See, Aldridge wants to end his seven-year run with the Blazers because he thinks Portland is too small. Too boring.
The next night was the season finale in Portland, and I asked [Blazers GM Neil] Olshey about Aldridge. Turns out, the two already had quite the face-to-face meeting about two weeks prior. Much was said. But on the record, Olshey would only give generalities.
"It's the end of a long season,'' Olshey said. "He hasn't made any trade demands, But if there is one thing I can say, it's I empathize with what LaMarcus is going through. This is the fourth genesis that he has lived through: From the Jail Blazers, to a youth movement, to a bunch of aging veterans, to this. It's not easy for him.''
Olshey is also quoted as saying he wouldn't make any outbound calls about Aldridge but that he would listen if the phone rang.
A report from Illinois on Wednesday suggested that Aldridge wanted to "escape" Portland and play for the Chicago Bulls.
A Blazers spokesperson told Blazersedge on Wednesday that Olshey -- who has been in his annual media blackout for pre-draft preparations -- was "unavailable for comment" regarding Aldridge trade rumors and reports.
Chad Ford of ESPN.com reported Wednesday that there is a "solid chance" Aldridge is traded this summer.
Earlier this week, Aldridge's name was put out there as a possible candidate for a draft week trade.
Back in May, there was some chatter that Aldridge might be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 1 pick.
Also 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 Olshey's response to Aldridge's 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, 27, is under contract through the 2014-15 season.
Thanks to JP503 in the FanShots.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter