Maybe the biggest name in the 2015 free agency will be LaMarcus Aldridge, who has indicated his intention to re-sign with the Portland Trail Blazers but offers from the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and maybe even the San Antonio Spurs might change his mind.
The Knicks and Lakers, with plenty of cap space and their usual big city (but currently dysfunctional basketball) allure, are going to try and sign every available All-Star that comes to mind. Aldridge right now is on top of that list, but a lot depends on players with player options and how they judge the situation going forward.
How do the Mavericks and Spurs come into this? Both teams have plenty of cap space going into next season. The Mavs are committed to $44 million in salary next season. The Spurs to only $33 million, and depending on how this postseason goes, might be making a lot of changes once this season is over. Aldridge is from Dallas and played his college basketball at Texas.
While there is plenty these four teams might offer him, the Blazers, being his current team, can give him the five-year deal and more money (about 30% more) which is very hard to deny. It’s less about how much your making in the sense of fattening your bank account, and more about letting the world know how valuable you are by getting the max deal, which the Blazers are planning on offering Aldridge in an attempt to wrap him up for the rest of his career, potentially positioning himself as the greatest player in the franchise’s history.
But players from the Blazers and the front office folks are worried about Aldridge bolting, feeling he can win somewhere else. The Blazers were a bit unlucky this season with Wesley Matthews’ injury, but nothing was guaranteeing them a free pass past the first round. The way they looked in game 1 against the Grizzlies makes it seem like it won’t be a very long series.
There are two things to consider on Aldridge’s next decision, and lets forget about his words and promises, because they don’t mean anything. There were the past rumors about Aldridge trying to force a trade out of Portland to the Chicago Bulls, but these are just rumors. There’s the fact that the Blazers might be a team with a ceiling in the playoffs that they simply can’t punch through. And there’s the 2016 salary cap bump. Why is that important?
Because it might make Aldridge and a lot of other free agents sign short deals in order to maximize on their value going forward, when the NBA’s salary cap will potentially rise to over $90 million in 2016 once the new TV money kicks in. Right now he has a postseason series to think about, but the future is just around the corner, and it might be bringing bad news for the Blazers.