By slowly planting the seeds and then helping them grow, ESPN have made the offseason a little bit more interesting, suggesting that the San Antonio Spurs are interesting in trading LaMarcus Aldridge. If not now, then later in the season. Maybe it’s true and based on actual inside information, but this could be all about doing what the media usually does: Stirring stuff up, and hoping it develops a life of its own.
ESPN are masters at generating something out of nothing. Zach Lowe dropped a hint about the Spurs maybe moving LaMarcus Aldridge during the regular season. Then Jackie McMullan joined in on the fun, saying Aldridge may not finish the season with the Spurs, and only said there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. What? Didn’t say. Now McMullan is one of the more respected basketball journalists, but that’s just a little bit click-baity. In any case, with possibly nothing being there, ESPN has done some terrific inception, and now everyone is talking about whether or not Aldridge wants to leave, whether or not he’s good fit for the system, and maybe it’ll be surprising if he actually stays.
FWIW, Spurs sources are denying trade talks involving LaMarcus Aldridge have taken place.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) October 18, 2016
The Spurs are saying nothing is happening, and that no trade talks with anyone are going on. Obviously, teams denying something doesn’t mean anything. It could be them telling the truth, it could be them hiding any kind of negotiations. Meanwhile, people are throwing ideas around of Russell Westbrook leaving the Thunder for the Spurs. In short, in such a media-driven world, all it took was one line on an article on a major website to get the ball going. As Doc Rivers once said to an ESPN reporter: You guys make the story up and then ask me about it. I think the network also pushed for the Boston Celtics to trade Rajon Rondo way before it made any sense. They were also trying to drive a wedge between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for years, until the seperation actually happened. “They told you so!”
Assuming the Aldridge trade is feasible, it doesn’t mean one thing. It could mean that the Spurs will try and see how this season and develops, and then if it looks like they’re not going to be a factor in the championship race, they might try to maximize the trade value of Aldridge before he gets too old. It could also mean that this team isn’t far from getting blown up, which could also be hinting that Gregg Popovich is on his way to retirement, always a possibility.
For now, the Spurs don’t seem to be in a rush to trade a player that helped them win 67 regular season games in 2015-2016. Unless there’s some real, serious, damaging tensions behind the scenes between Aldridge and other players, we’re assuming this is just the media trying to fish for something, and maybe stir up a conversation. The Spurs aren’t the kind of franchise to shoot from the hip, and trading Aldridge now would just be more than a tad atypical, and quite possibly counterproductive.