Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Portland Trail Blazers have presented a max contract offer to All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
Owner Paul Allen and general manager Neil Olshey formally presented the representatives of three-time All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge a maximum contract extension in Los Angeles last week, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
With only a remote chance that Aldridge will agree to the three-year, $55.5 million extension afforded him this summer under the collective bargaining agreement, the Blazers are determined to keep Aldridge on a five-year, $108 million extension that he can sign upon reaching free agency next summer.
Aldridge, 28, averaged a career-high 23.2 points and 11.1 rebounds in 69 appearances for the Blazers last season, earning All-Star and All-NBA Third Team honors. He scored 46 points in Game 1 and 43 points in Game 2 of a first-round series against the Houston Rockets, helping lead the Blazers to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time since 2000.
Aldridge is about to enter the final season of a five-year, $65 million deal that will pay him $16 million for the 2014-15 campaign.
Rumors swirled around Aldridge's happiness in Portland last summer, but the Blazers' surprising 54-win season flipped that story on its head.
Back in January, Aldridge told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune that he wanted to sign an extension to remain in Portland.
"I would like to re-sign here," he says. "If they want to talk about it, I would talk about it. They haven't yet, but I'm looking forward to the chance to do that."
If Olshey is prepared to make that happen, he's not revealing it to the media.
"When the appropriate time comes, which is not now, that is a conversation that will happen between (owner) Paul Allen, myself, LaMarcus and his agent (Arn Tellem)," Olshey says. "It's not a conversation that's going to play out in the media in January."
Aldridge was asked about those comments by Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey on Blazers Courtside.
Comments about re-signing
"I told the truth. I love my teammates. This team is a really good team. I feel like we can go far this year and even further next year. I'm going to come back."
This year's team
"It's special. I've never been on a team where the players play so unselfish. We've had good teams, but this team everybody makes the extra, extra pass. Everybody wants to win, I feel like I've never had this before. I feel like we just click. It's a whole bunch of guys that just want to win games."
During his exit interview in May, Aldridge dodged all questions about his contract.
Contract status: "I'm not even talking about it yet. We just finished the season. I'm still focused on watching film and seeing what happened last series and relaxing for a little bit."
This year compared to last year: "The feeling in this city and this organization as a whole has been night and day. Everybody in this city is excited about our growth, where we've grown to this year. ... Every person in the organization is excited to go to work again. Thinking about playoffs and how good everyone played this year. It's not just me, the whole city has a different vibe about us."
How are you feeling: "I'm fine. This was my healthiest season in awhile. I'm like wine, getting better as I get older."
Here's what Olshey had to say on the subject during his exit interview.
Neil, will you negotiate to extend LaMarcus Aldridge's contract this summer?
Olshey: When the appropriate time comes, clearly. The most important thing is everybody, including LaMarcus, knows he's the number one priority in the organization right now, and when that business needs to be handled and the timing is absolutely right, it's clearly a goal of ours to keep LaMarcus here long-term. LaMarcus knows that, his agents know that, we're aware of it, and like I said, there's economic issues at play that make things more complicated -- not on our end -- from a collective bargaining standpoint, the timing of players' extensions, in terms of maximizing their window. I went through this in Los Angeles, where you could extend somebody early, but economically, it was better for them to wait an extra year so they could get the longer-term deal. So these are all things that will be worked out with LaMarcus, his agent. I think the big thing is that LaMarcus wants to be here and clearly we want him here. That's the challenging part. The economics take care of themselves.
Aldridge would become an unrestricted free agent in July 2015 if he is unable to reach a contract extension with the Blazers.
Blazersedge's salary cap guru Storyteller has a lengthy breakdown of Aldridge's contract options right here, explaining the possible long-term benefits to Aldridge of signing a three-year extension this summer.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter