NBA Free Agents Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks & San Antonio Spurs Favorites to Sign LaMarcus Aldridge
NBA fans are set for an action packed free agency period beginning Wednesday, July 1.
Some of the best players in the league have expiring contracts, and will be playing elsewhere next season. Notable players such as Rajon Rondo, DeAndre Jordan and Marc Gasol will all be unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Without a doubt one of the biggest and most well known players who will become a free agent is LaMarcus Aldridge, who has played his entire career with the Portland Trail Blazers. Aldridge is one of the best young players in the league having led the NBA in shots made last season. Aldridge is also a very efficient player who made nearly 85 percent of his free throws last year.
The frontrunners to land Aldridge at the moment are the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.
The Mavericks and Spurs make sense, as Aldridge would be returning home. Aldridge grew up in Texas and played for the Texas Longhorns in college. The Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban have to find a replacement for Dirk Nowitzki, who is nearing retirement. NBA Champion Tyson Chandler, who stands 7-foot-1, is a good center, but he too is at the back end of his career. A Mavericks-Aldridge combination would be a great fit as the Mavericks do have a lot of salary cap space available. The Mavericks have also been rumored to be interested in free agent point guard Jeremy Lin.
The Spurs are the newest frontrunners in the Aldridge sweepstakes. Tim Duncan is arguably the greatest power forward in NBA history, but he is 39 years old. The Spurs dynasty is coming to an end with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker nearing retirement as well. The issue here is money. The Spurs have never been a team that bask in "breaking the bank" in free agency. It's just not what they do. The Spurs could sign Aldridge to a short term deal with a team option at the end of it.
According to league reports, the Spurs are the leading team to land Aldridge this offseason. One of the primary reasons according to that source is because of Gregg Popovich. Aldridge is a big fan of the five time NBA champion Popovich. Aldridge has only made it out of the first round once in his career. If Aldridge wants to win now, the Spurs would easily be the best option.
And then, there's the Lakers.
Aldridge may be from Texas, but he does live in Los Angeles during the offseason. The Lakers had their worst season in franchise history last year, but they have an enormous amount of salary cap space opening up. With Steve Nash retiring, Lin's contract finished, and Kobe Bryant's contract only having one year left, the Lakers will have an enormous amount to spend in free agency.
The Mavericks can offer a lot of money, but the Lakers can offer more; certainly more than the Spurs can. According to multiple reports, Aldridge is "favoring" the Lakers as a future team to sign with. Why would Aldridge sign with a team that just went 21-61 last season? Los Angeles is where Aldridge can really make a name for himself. If Aldridge can bring a title to the Purple and Gold, he can become a legend. He could also make more off the court in advertisements and branding opportunities given the location.
In the end it comes down to what Aldridge desires most. The Mavericks can offer a little bit of everything -- hometown, money and playing time. The Spurs can offer a potential championship, very soon. The Lakers can offer a lot of playing time, a lot of money and the spotlight, but a whole lot of pressure and rebuilding.
The ball's in your court, Aldridge.
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