Sometimes the grass truly is not greener on the other side of the hill.
"It was me kind of being blunt about it, and being kind of forward," Aldridge recently told ESPN during training camp. "He was open to it. I kind of just spilled my heart about how I felt about how things were, and how things had been going.
"I think he was kind of caught off guard. I don't think he really had noticed [that I was unhappy]. But once I said it, he was great about listening, and it was good from there. I felt like I wasn't really fitting into the system as best I could. I wasn't really helping like I felt I could."
The former Portland Trail Blazers star averaged career lows in postseason points and rebounds during the 2017 playoffs, topped off by an eight turnover game against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. After that performance, Coach Popovich publicly referred to Aldridge as “timid”.
Aldridge’s defense fell off during the last season’s run as well, with metrics suggesting Aldridge was not just the worst defender on the team during the playoffs, but one of the worst in Popovich’s postseason career.
But Popovich and his star forward have moved forward and are looking for ways to make the relationship productive for all parties.
"We have talked about what we can do to make him more comfortable, and to make our team better. But having said that, I think we are mostly talking about offense. Defense, he was fantastic for us. Now, we have got to help him a little bit more so that he is comfortable in his own space offensively, and I haven't done a very good job of that."
Aldridge turned down a maximum offer from Portland and signed a 4-year $80-million contract with the Spurs in July of 2015. Over his Trail Blazers career, he averaged 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. He is the Blazers all-time leader in rebounds with 5,434.