When rumors surfaced a few days ago that stated LaMarcus Aldridge was unhappy in Portland and wanting a trade, denial from Aldridge was completely expected.
Aldridge being one of the teams cornerstones along with Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, and Nicholas Batum, there was absolutely no way the Blazers would succumb to any sort of demands to trade Aldridge.
The denial came Saturday. In an e-mail to The Oregonian, according to Joe Freeman, Aldridge said he has not asked for a trade and expressed tempered enthusiasm about the Blazers’ prospects in free agency, which opens July 1.
“I haven’t demanded a trade,” Aldridge said in the e-mail. “I’m looking forward to who we sign in free agency to make us better.”
Obviously, none of what Aldridge said in the e-mail means that he is actually happy in Portland. He was just wanting to squash the rumors that he was asking for an out.
Who can really blame him for wanting out? He is a playoff-ready player who has been stuck in the “rebuilding” process that has spanned his whole professional career. He has become the heart and soul of the Blazers. I can only imagine his feeling of being “stuck.” No one ever wants to be held back when they know they’re ready, willing, and able for more. I just hope this doesn’t turn into a Rudy Fernandez situation. Fernandez wanted out so badly that his performance took a dramatic dip in his last season with the Blazers.
Aldridge has two years left on a contract that will pay him in excess of $14 million and $15 million in the following seasons. There are teams out there that would love an opportunity to steal him from the Blazers, but Portland seems intent on building around their All-Star forward, and Aldridge, based on this acknowledgment of public perception, likely realized it.