Re: LaMarcus Aldridge On The Move
posted at 9/19/2013 9:50 PM EDT
Aldridge will be 28 this year, which would mean he is half-way through his prime. He has been putting up excellent numbers in each of the past three seasons, but those numbers will eventually come down.
He needs to be able to maximize his talent and do so on a winning team.
According to Scott Schroeder on Pro Basketball Talk, Aldridge recently admitted that he had been "frustrated" in Portland.
Certainly fans could understand why. Last year's team was a joke. Not a joke in the sense that it was void of talent. Any team withDamian Lillard on it certainly has some talent.
No, the Blazers were a joke last year because of the bench that management put together. Of the subs, only a few are actual NBA-caliber players that have a shot at making any type of impression on teams league-wide.
Luke Babbitt? Nolan Smith? Sasha Pavlovic?
Until a midseason trade for Eric Maynor, there was not a single viable option coming off the Blazer bench.
Sure, Victor Claver and Will Barton have some talent, but neither is ready to carry any type of load for the Blazers.
It has got to be frustrating for a star player like Aldridge to be forced to play sizable minutes because the bench players can't fill his shoes and then be forced to play from behind when those bench players leave points on the board.
But luckily for Aldridge, the Blazers went into this offseason determined to improve their anemic bench.
They added players like Brook Lopez, Mo Williams, Dorell Wright and Thomas Robinson as well as rookie C.J. McCollum. At every single position, they improved their depth.
The overall level of talent on the Blazers has improved greatly.
Now how good, exactly, is this team determined to be? There are just too many question marks surrounding too many of the players to give any honest assessment.
I would say that at the very least, this team should improve.
How much time?
Back to Aldridge.
LaMarcus is technically under contract through next year. He is on the hook for about $30 million over the next two seasons.
However, those numbers and years really don't mean much. For a player of Aldridge's talent, plenty of teams will find a way to make room for him.
The real question becomes: Just how content can the Blazers make LA?
Aldridge is not going to want to wait until after he is 30 to find a contending team. The next two years are just too important to waste on a team that isn't committed to winning.
The take here is that the Blazers have one year to wow Aldridge. They need to make real tangible steps in the right direction.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Now does that mean contending for a title this year? Of course not. Barring a miraculous trade for a superstar, the Blazers just will not be contenders this year.
The Western Conference certainly isn't as tough as it once was, but it isn't completely weak either. The Blazers should improve this year, and the playoffs certainly should be viewed as a viable goal.
Aldridge needs to know that the Blazers are committed to winning now and not in the distant future.
If they are able to move in the right direction, they may just have a shot at keeping Aldridge a Blazer.