Quick: Aldridge Unhappy, But Trade Not Imminent
Jason Quick of The Oregonian, fresh from the College World Series, writes today about the situation regarding LaMarcus Aldridge's satisfaction
, or lack thereof, in Portland. Quick lays out the case, from Aldridge not renewing local sponsorships and leases on an apartment in the Pearl District to a contentious conversation he had with Aldridge in the finals days of the 2012-13 regular season, that Aldridge is ready to end his seven-year stint with the Trail Blazers.
There's plenty in Quick's column to digest, so I suggest you read it in full (as if you haven't already). But for me, the crux of the column is this: Aldridge may in fact be unhappy in Portland, but that doesn't mean Neil Olshey feels any rush to trade him.
But Olshey is not in the business to make players happy. He is in the business of making the Blazers better. And if there has been one consistent with Aldridge throughout his seven years in Portland, it’s that he puts up somewhere around 21 points and 8 rebounds a game whether he is happy, unhappy or indifferent to what direction the Blazers are headed.
Still, it is an interesting proposition for Olshey as he embarks on his second summer of reshaping the franchise. Aldridge has two years remaining on his contract in Portland. He has no leverage to demand a trade right now. But he will after this season, when he can enter his final season in Portland with a threat to walk into free agency, leaving the Blazers with nothing in return, except for some salary cap relief.
So it might be wise for Olshey to shop Aldridge and see what he could net in return. If it’s not a Horford, or a Davis, then play on. Get another All-Star caliber season out of Aldridge.
Quick also has Olshey on record saying that the Trail Blazers aren't actively shopping Aldridge, but that they'd listen to offers. As for the players who Portland would consider in trade, Quick floats the likes of Horford, Davis, Brook Lopez and Blake Griffin, so basically All-Star caliber players.
And that's why, like Quick, I don't see something happening with Aldridge during tonight's draft (I'll be live from the Barclay's Center with updates, by the way). The offers we've been hearing, from Cleveland's draft picks
to Chicago's Loul Deng, are either way short of being equal value or incongruous with the the talent that currently exists on Portland's roster.
I don't know if Aldridge really is fed up with Portland, but after missing the playoffs for the second-straight season and finishing the year on a 13-game losing streak, I think it's fair to assume he'd like to see progress being made. But the question is, will that progress come by way of putting better players around him in Portland or by finding a trade that nets Portland a player of Aldridge's talent level?