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How the Phoenix Suns Emerged as Contenders for LaMarcus Aldridge

Aldridge was rumored to be headed to San Antonio with Portland as his second choice, but a new team has emerged from the shadows.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The LaMarcus Aldridge free agent saga continues.

This morning the San Antonio Spurs did everything necessary to bring Aldridge into the fold and he was said to be mightily impressed.

This afternoon the Portland Trail Blazers made a public push-back, revealing their grand plan to pair Aldridge with Detroit free agent Greg Monroe if only LaMarcus would return.

Now the Phoenix Suns have emerged from the locker room to turn this into a triple-threat match.

Marc Stein of ESPN tweets:

The Suns began their campaign by signing free agent center Tyson Chandler, long known as one of the best defensive players in the league.

They sent a huge contingent to meet with the All-Star forward, including a former teammate, now turned coach, whom Aldridge respects.

The meeting went well.

The only remaining issue, besides gaining Aldridge's assent, is clearing enough cap space to make a deal work. Clearing center Brandan Wright off the ledger was one step.

They'll need others. One intriguing possibility would be finding a taker for Eric Bledsoe. The Blazers may know someone who'd be interested...

If the Suns do manage to unload Bledsoe, through sign and trade or an imbalanced cap exchange with a team carrying free cap space, they'd be able to make Aldridge an offer.

Some media doubt Phoenix's ascension.

But Aldridge has not announced for or against any given team as of yet. At minimum he is scheduled to meet with the Knicks. We may have to wait until tomorrow before the field gets narrower than three.

Update: Apparently momentum remains strong.