Time has seemingly healed all wounds for former Portland Trail Blazers teammates Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Heading into his seventh NBA All-Star Game, third for the San Antonio Spurs, Aldridge reflected on his past with the Blazers and the evolution of his relationship with Lillard with Jabari Young of the Athletic (subscription required):
By now, the feud, that really wasn’t a feud but labeled as one, between Aldridge and Lillard is well chronicled. There were narratives of jealousy and insecurity as Lillard’s stardom was increasing in Portland.
The thing is, none of it came from the two, but those on the outside. It took a conversation between Aldridge and Lillard to realize the noise was false.
Lillard first came to Aldridge to clear the air. He made it clear that he was trying to be an ally to Aldridge, the team’s established star. Aldridge had heard noise that said otherwise, which strained them at first. But with Lillard and Aldridge hashing it out, the two came to friendly terms:
“We’ve fixed our relationship,” Aldridge said. “It wasn’t us. It wasn’t us having an issue with each other. It was the people around us generating things that wasn’t there. So, it’s harder to see when you’re in it, but I think now that we’re both on the outside looking back at it — we had that talk and it definitely made it better.
“It’s funny (when you’re) older, you grow up and see things differently,” Aldridge added. “I think I understand Dame’s view more. I think he understands my view. I think we just hashed it out. It wasn’t an argument. We just talked it out.”
There is a lot more in Young’s piece that touches on Aldridge’s time in Portland and how that shaped him into a more vocal leader now. It’s worth the read (subscription to the Athletic required).