Could the LaMarcus Aldridge summer saga finally be over? The big man has spent his entire career as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, but many reported he was unhappy with the team and the direction they were headed, requesting a trade as soon as possible. However, now everyone is back tracking on their words as the Blazers' general manager Neil Olshey is ending the rumors.
"I think it comes from all you [media] -- everybody fighting to be first with inaccurate information. I can tell you, LaMarcus Aldridge, you guys have known him longer than I have. And if he had asked to be traded, he would have told people that he asked to be traded. He never asked to be traded," Olshey said in a press conference on Thursday.
The Blazers finished last season with the 11th-best record in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs by 12 games. Aldridge has been vocal about his desire for the team to improve their playoff odds and build a strong roster, leading many to believe he was looking to get out and play for a contending team.
Aldridge had his agents meet up with Olshey during the Las Vegas meetings to discuss trade possibilities. Several media outlets reported that he was demanding a trade immediately but that Portland was hesitant to make him available.
For a majority of the offseason, trade rumors swirled that the Chicago Bulls were making a run at Aldridge. Chicago had originally drafted Aldridge back in 2006 before sending him to Portland. The Trail Blazers were only interested in receiving Joakim Noah in return and would not accept a deal involving someone like Luol Deng. Naturally the trade negotiations went nowhere and both teams moved on.
Instead, Portland added free agents like Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson, Robin Lopez and Dorell Wright to help beef up the roster. In his press conference, Olshey noted that Aldridge was excited at the offseason signings and was pleased with the way to team handled free agency.
The general manager recognizes that last season was a disappointment which likely led to a lot of the trade rumors. The team is attempting to rebuild while not totally destroying the roster and Aldridge recognizes that effort.
"I think what LaMarcus sees now -- like what you just brought up -- there is a plan. And we're executing the plan and we're going to stay disciplined and stay diligent about getting there as quickly as possible without jeopardizing the long-term health of the franchise," Olshey said.