LaMarcus Aldridge prefers Los Angeles Lakers to Texas teams?
The thought of LaMarcus leaving the Portland Trailblazers in free agency is looking more likely with each passing day.
Rumors have circulated that the four-time all star has a real desire to return to his home state of Texas, and has been linked to both the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks in the last few weeks. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher reported two weeks ago that though the Spurs are more championship ready it’s the Mavs who have the best shot at prying him from the Pacific Northwest.
"Of his potential suitors, league sources indicate that the Mavericks are the biggest threat to pull Aldridge away from the Blazers, but it’s the general idea of returning to Texas, not a specific destination, that appeals to him. Both the Mavericks and Spurs, of course, could have the requisite cap space, reputation of success and location."
Now that Nicolas Batum has been shipped to the Charlotte Hornets it almost seems like a foregone conclusion that LaMarcus Aldridge will be putting on the home whites somewhere other than the Moda Center next season.
Seems like a great turn of events for the Mavericks, right? Not so fast.
According to reports from ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Los Angeles Lakers have jumped ahead of the Mavericks in the race for Aldridge’s services.
It’s a bit puzzling that Aldridge suddenly has interest in the Lakers. As Bucher mentioned returning to Texas is at the forefront of Aldridge’s thinking in regards to making a move. He’d be turning down a lot of money leaving Portland, but it sounded like a return home to a state with no income tax was enough to make up for it.
California isn’t Texas, has one of the highest state income tax rates, and the Lakers are not close to contention in the western conference.
Then again, Los Angeles has been in talks to acquire DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings and has no qualms about paying the luxury tax. If anyone can rebuild overnight it’s them. And it’s the Lakers, up there with the Boston Celtics as the league’s most storied franchises.
LaMarcus Aldridge would be a fantastic addition for the Mavericks, and of all the available free agents would be my pick if given the choice. I had been feeling good about their chances of landing him, but I’ll admit: the Lakers worry me.
Their #2 pick of the draft tonight should tell us a lot about what they envision with their roster next season. If they think they have a legitimate shot at Aldridge via free agency, or Cousins with a trade, they could draft Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell. If not they’ll take Jahlil Okafor. Stay tuned.
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