Jabari J. Young of CSNNW wrote today about the layers of reasoning behind LaMarcus Aldridge's free agent departure from the Portland Trail Blazers to join the San Antonio Spurs.
Young's basis thesis is that Blazer's fans may be too quickly embracing PR talking points about Aldridge's decision--"the pledge", possible tension with Damian Lillard, fickleness, lack of caring about the team and its fans--and may not be considering the real, human factors underneath.
During his recruitment, Aldridge would leave no stone unturned. He met with whoever wanted to talk and sold him on a plan to win. He listened to the Blazers, too. But outside of the meetings, those close reminded Aldridge to consider family, happiness, and winning now. It's why the Spurs were always the favorite. He could be closer to his two sons, his mother, and at the same time compete for championships right away.
Young also explains the player's power in the new NBA and that Aldridge is hardly alone in making this type of decision.
Interestingly, Young includes a couple paragraphs that throw more light on the subject of last summer's public discussion of Aldridge's non-extension, which we discussed extensively yesterday.
Remember last July when he made that "pledge" to sign a five-year deal that he officially passed up less than 24 hours ago. According to Aldridge, he wanted to be the greatest Blazer, hoping to surpass Clyde Drexler and Bill Walton.
Thing is, very few around the league believed it. Instead, the talk was Aldridge was asked to give those company lines, suspending what many believed was the inevitable, while at the same time giving the organization one last chance to really compete for a championship.
Don't believe it?
Explain why Aldridge, when asked about that "pledge" in April, said: "I haven't really thought about it since then."
Sound like someone who picked up the phone on his own without being asked?
Young concludes with speculation on Aldridge's future reception.
When he returns to Moda Center next season, Aldridge will get booed. He'll be disliked on many levels. But one day, Aldridge will return again, have his jersey retired, and many will cheer.
But today, if the other side of Aldridge's decision -- family, happiness and the pursuit of championships during his final years -- can't be respected, then maybe there was never any real respect for Aldridge at all.