Following his press-conference welcome to the San Antonio Spurs today, LaMarcus Aldridge sat down with ESPN reporter Marc Stein to discuss his new home and the transition that accompanies it. The interview is airing on the current cycle of ESPN Sportscenter.
Stein began the interview by asking Aldridge how it feels to be a Spur. Aldridge described it as "surreal" and a "big change", citing not just different location but his proximity to family and friends. When prodded further about what separated the Spurs from other teams, Aldridge again mention being close to home, his family, and his kids. He also described the Spurs as a "first class organization" where he can "win now". He named dropped Tim Duncan as the best power forward to play the game and Gregg Popovich as a coach who could help him enhance his game.
Stein then reminded Aldridge that the previous year he had been quoted as wanting to be the "Best Blazer Ever" and asked him what changed between then and now. Aldridge's response:
It was tough. I did want to be the best Blazer ever. It wasn't some hoax or me just trying to, you know, sweet-talk the city. I did. But I felt like they were kind of in that middle role where they kind of wanted to make a change, kind of go a different direction. You know they definitely told me that they wanted me back, but kind of I felt like we both were kind of in that limbo. They wanted to go young. Damian is a great talent. He's going to be an All-Star for many years to come.
When asked what it was like to be recruited by Popovich, Aldridge replied that he was "just like what you see on TV" with directness, no sweet-talking. He though Aldridge could help the team. Stein also asked Aldridge how long he expected Popovich to coach. Aldridge said he'd asked that too and that Popovich had told him that he'd play out the remaining 4 years of his new contract. Aldridge also cited Popovich remaining for all 4 years was a "very important" factor in his decision.
Aldridge played 9 years for the Trail Blazers before signing a 4-year deal with the Spurs officially yesterday.