The Spurs have a plan to get LaMarcus Alridge, and that is to bring Tim Duncan with them when they meet with the Portland Trail Blazers free agent early Wednesday in Los Angeles, a source told Yahoo Sports. He will join star point guard Tony Parker and coach Gregg Popovich as part of the recruiting team.
Duncan’s decision to travel with the group is another sign that the veteran and future hall of fame will play at least one more season. He and Manu Ginobili are set to become free agents this summer. The two have not said anything about retiring or leaving the team, but with the three looking to convince the star forward, it’s just a matter before Duncan announces that he will keep playing.
This is not the first time the Spurs do this, Duncan helped out the team when Jason Kidd was a free agent back in 2003, but it will be the first time that the veteran travels to recruit another player. Tony Parker will be flying to Los Angeles all the way from China, where he has been on a promotional tour.
The Spurs are not the only ones interested in the star forward, the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns all want to talk to the player and make an offer. A source close to the player says the Spurs are at the top of his list. Aldridge is from Dallas, but stays in Orange County during the offseason. His representation agency, Wasserman Media Group is located in Los Angeles.
Aldridge was huge for Portland last season, he averaged 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. He has averaged at least 20 points and eight rebounds in each of the past five seasons but has had to deal with several injuries throughout his career. The 2nd overall in the 2006 NBA draft missed the first seven games of his first season with a shoulder injury. Months later, he was taken to Providence Hospital in Portland for shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat. He was diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome on April 9, 2007, and missed the remaining eight games of the 2006–07 season. In his second season, the forward had injury troubles due to plantar fasciitis, which caused him to miss a few games. In the third season, he only missed one game. In the 2013–14 season, he missed a number of games with a lower back contusion but returned and helped the team get to the playoffs. Last season, he was ruled out for six to eight weeks after tearing the radial collateral ligament in his left thumb. He decided to skip surgery and play, the Trail Blazers made the playoffs but were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies.
San Antonio has been pretty good the last three seasons, making two Finals appearances and winning one against LeBron and company. Last year, they lost a first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games. Bringing in Aldridge would be huge for the team, putting them as early favorites for next year’s title. His addition plus the current roster of Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan would almost be unfair to the other teams. The Spurs will also try to re-sign Kawhi, who wants big money after his great performance in the 2014 Finals.