After nine seasons, LaMarcus Aldridge packed up his belongings and left Portland behind.
Aldridge is confident that he’ll be a perfect fit with the San Antonio Spurs, and says he’s excited to team up with Tim Duncan.
Per The Oregonian (via ESPN Radio):
On when he decided to leave Portland: “I think through the whole process I never was sure I wanted to leave. I’ve always loved Portland. That city has supported me so much I never really thought I could leave I think until the last day or two. … The night before I made my decision is when I called them and I told them. Up until the last night I wasn’t leaving.” […] On how close his decision was: “It was really close. The only thing I can tell you is right before I made my decision I called Portland and told them that they weren’t in but obviously it went down to the last minute. They were in it. It came down to Portland, Phoenix and San Antonio and to the last minute Portland was in the running. I’ve had so much history there; I’m engraved in (the Blazers’) history books. I didn’t want to leave all that behind so it was tough.”
On his relationship with Damian Lillard: “Good guy. We have no issue with each other, no animosity. We got along very well during the season. I thought we played well off of each other. All of that stuff was just rumors I’ve dealt with before. Me leaving had nothing to do with any of that. It was just me feeling like being close to home and my family and being able to see them more. And just a change of scenery, I’ve been in Portland for nine years. I’ve been through a couple rebuilds. It was just time to try something new. It wasn’t anything toward Damian or the organization.”
On what he expects in his first game back in Portland: “Portland holds a spot in my heart that can’t be changed because of the memories will last forever. I think that city embraced me and I embraced them and we grew together. We went from a team that was called the ‘Jail Blazers’ to actually being a team that everybody loved, a team that everybody wanted to cheer for. We had a great transition period together I think both parties enjoyed. I think going back my first time might be boos because I think people are really hurt by my decision because they don’t understand why I left. I think my first time back I probably will be booed.”