L I N D S E Y  W I S N I E W S K I  

Free agency begins: LaMarcus Aldridge front and center

By theno1pick, Jul 1 2015 09:27PM

If there's one thing Phoenix has that Portland doesn't, it's surely a lack of rain. But weather conditions have nothing to do with whether Portland Trail Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge will sign with the Suns, while a championship has everything-- something the Suns have never obtained.

Let's face it though, Aldridge has played with Portland nine seasons. He has five playoff appearances, making it out of the first round only once during the '14-'15 season. And he's watched his team rebuild countless times during the Brandon Roy, Greg Oden injuries and the #NewTeamNewDream era that began as quickly as it ended with a Nate McMillan firing and the departure of Andre Miller, Joel Pryzbilla and Raymond Felton (to name a few).

Everything changed

It wasn't until Portland built a core starting five of Nicolas Batum, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews that a spark truly ignited-- a spark that would end a 14-year stint and send Portland to a second-round playoff appearance for the first time since 2000.

But on Mar. 5, 2015, in a game against the Dallas Mavericks, everything changed when guard Wesley Matthews suffered a left Achilles injury. He would be out for the season and a team that was 41-19 prior to Matthews' injury would finish the season 10-12, making a quick first-round exit against the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs.

Not exactly the championship hopes the city of Portland deserves and certainly not the progress Aldridge had wanted for him and his Blazers.

Free agency begins

As free agency courting perior opened on July 1, the Spurs, Suns and Lakers were amongst the rumored teams in the hunt for Aldridge. With the recent addition of Tyson Chandler to the Suns, Aldridge could easily be persuaded to bite as Phoenix has quality point-guards and a new, legit center in Chandler.

Prior to turning down a three-year/55 million contract extension with the Blazers at the end of the '14-'15 offseason, Aldridge reportedly made his intentions to stay with Portland known.

"I want to be the best Blazer - ever," Aldridge said. "If I stay the rest of my career, I should be able to catch Clyde [Drexler] by then. I should be able to leave a mark on a big-time franchise that is going to be seen forever. And I will be able to say I played here my whole career. This city has embraced me and grown with me. I have so much history, it just makes sense to stay," (Credit: The Oregonian).

But look into Aldridge's desires and you won't look too far, being the best Blazer of all time is significant but a championship is the real goal-- a goal that can be found with the right team and in the West, that team could be anyone.

More to follow.

Add a comment
* Required