Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge told anyone willing to listen last summer that he had his heart set on a max deal with the only NBA team he’s ever played for during his nine-year career.
But with free agency looming, is the big fella possibly having second thoughts?
According to multiple reports, Aldridge will consider all options in July, including possibly bolting from Portland.
We know Knicks & Lakers will chase LaMarcus Aldridge come July, but at least two teams in Texas believe they have shot at him: Spurs & Mavs
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 23, 2015
The 29-year old star will be one of the most highly-coveted free agents on the market.
Per CBS Sports:
With recent reports that his teammates are worried he’ll leave as a free agent and that the Spurs and Mavericks believe they have a chance, a person with knowledge of LaMarcus Aldridge’s free-agent strategy said that all options remain on the table — including parting ways with the Blazers. The person, who has been briefed on Aldridge’s plan, said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the four-time All-Star and Dallas native were lured to his native Texas when he hits the unrestricted market on July 1.
Last July, Aldridge said he planned to sign the five-year, $108 million max contract the Blazers can offer him when he hits the free-agent market, saying at the time he wants to be “the best Blazer ever” and adding that signing a five-year deal with Portland — one more year than other teams can offer, and with bigger raises — “is the best decision on my part.”
But the NBA’s $24 billion broadcast and digital rights agreement that hits the system in 2016 has changed the equation for this summer’s top-notch free agents. Does a player like Aldridge commit to a five-year deal under the current economics, or do a shorter deal with a player option so he can really take advantage of the TV windfall? NBA executives are projecting that the salary cap will jump from $67.1 million in 2015-16 to $89 million in ’16-’17 and a whopping $108 million in ’17-’18. A short deal with an opt-out in either ’16 or ’17, coupled with the opportunity to cash in on the massive spike in the cap, would more than cushion the blow of leaving future money on the table by leaving town as a free agent.