Although the start of the regular season has Trail Blazers fans buzzing, the biggest development of the past week was the signing of LaMarcus Aldridge to a multi-year contract extension. Aldridge has been one of the cornerstones of the recent resurgence of this team, and signing him to an extension prior to October 31st was a huge priority for the franchise.
At times it appeared that the two sides might not be able to reach an extension prior to the October 31st deadline. However, GM Kevin Pritchard kept an optimistic approach to the negotiation process.
"During negotiations, they can get a little tough," Pritchard explained at the press conference. "But I told him (LaMarcus) at the beginning, 'it's not where we start, it's where we finish'."
Pritchard was also excited that the focus can now turn towards basketball instead of on getting this extension done.
"What I can tell you today is it's a breath of fresh air for all of us. It's behind us, he can focus in on basketball, getting us to the highest level that he possibly can, being the best teammate, playing unselfish. All the things that I know he is going to do, now from here on, he is going to do that, and have everything behind him. That's important to us as an organization and I know it's important to him."
This extension also displays the commitment that the Trail Blazers have to making this team a championship contender.
"I think it also shows, and more importantly, that when you do right, when you put the organization first, when you put your teammates first, and you do everything you can to be successful on the court, that this organization will take care of you. That is a message that we want to send out, and we want to send out strong."
For Aldridge, his focus and energy will be fully devoted to bringing another championship banner to the Portland fans.
"That's the plan," Aldridge said of winning an NBA championship. "I think Kevin Pritchard has done a good job of bringing in guys to make us better, with Juwan and Andre Miller. I think that every year we just got to aim higher and higher. Last year it was the playoffs, and this year it is to go further than that. I do see us winning it, but I think we have to learn a lot and grow together a lot.