New York Knicks Rumors: LaMarcus Aldridge Considering Knicks In Free Agency?


New York Knicks Rumors: Could LaMarcus Aldridge Be Coming To Big Apple?

With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, the New York Knicks are one of the 14 teams that did not qualify that already planning for the 2015-16 season. The NBA Draft will be their first order of business, followed by free agency. But with a team with as many holes as the Knicks have, a strategy for free agency has more than likely been in the works for weeks. Could that strategy be changing?

A few weeks ago, Knicks general manager Steve Mills said that the team wouldn’t chase a big name just to make a move and throw some money around, also known as the Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva contracts. Instead, the Knicks would be focused on adding players that fit into their plans and system, namely the triangle offense. But, what if they could make a splashy signing that actually fits perfectly into their system?

One player who fits into that list is Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Could the Knicks now be in the running for the services of Aldridge?

About a year ago, it seemed like an extreme longshot that Aldridge would sign with the Knicks, or anyone other than the Trail Blazers for that matter. He put off a contract extension at that time, wanting the five-year max he could get this summer. He also mentioned that he wanted to become the greatest Trail Blazer in the history of the franchise, surpassing the great Clyde Drexler

But it would seem that things have changed recently, as there is a very real chance that Aldridge hits free agency with an eye towards playing in a different city next season. The Oregonian is reporting that earlier this month a teammate said that was a 50/50 chance that Aldridge would leave the Blazers high and dry this offseason and take his talents elsewhere.

That is a huge 180 to do, as he seemed intent on building something in Portland last season. But, that is also a 180 from his original feelings as Aldridge leaving the Blazers was thought of a sure thing before he came out last summer and said he wanted to surpass Drexler as the greatest Blazer player ever. He seems now to be back to his original train of thought in leaving Portland for what he considers green pastures.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported yesterday that the Knicks, in addition to the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks will all be chasing Aldridge this summer, giving the Blazers a lot of competition for a player they thought was a shoo in to return to them.

There are also connected people in the NBA that think the Knicks are a team that would pique the interest of Aldridge, as two opposing executives said that the Knicks and Spurs would be on his radar in talks within league circles.

A reason for the change in heart for Aldridge could have something to do with the Blazers playoff success, or lack there of. The Blazers are currently in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies as they return home for Game 3 and 4. He has made plenty of money in his career, so while the extra year of security and extra money would be nice, he could be focused now on winning.

That would make a decision to the join the Knicks an interesting one, as they were as far fro winning as any NBA team this past season. But, being armed with $25 million in cap space, the Knicks are technically players for anyone in free agency, as they have enough money to offer a max contract to a player of their choosing. Also, playing in the Eastern Conference would present Aldridge with arguably his easiest path to playoff success, and next to Carmelo Anthony, would present problems on a nightly basis for opposing defenses to stop.

The triangle offense is also a system that Aldridge would thrive in. His skill set would be used similarly to how Pau Gasol was used with the Los Angeles Lakers when they were thriving as the power forward. He can have success in the post or knock down the perimeter jump shot, exactly where he would be getting most of his touches in the offense that the Knicks run.

But there is one thing that the Knicks couldn’t offer Aldridge, and that is bringing him closer to his family. The Oregonian also notes that happiness could be what Aldridge is now seeking, and going home to Texas would provide that, either in the form of the Spurs or Mavericks. Both of those teams, and especially the Spurs, would seem to give Aldridge a better chance at playoff success than the Knicks.

While the Knicks have the ability to throw money at Aldridge, and a system that he can flourish in, is that really enough to lure a player of his caliber from seemingly better options? But, you can be sure that they will do everything they can to bring Aldridge onboard. He would automatically vault the Knicks into a playoff spot in the Eastern conference, and depending on how the draft shakes out and the Knicks use the remaining roughly $7 million they have in cap space, the Knicks could quickly look like Eastern conference contenders.

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That all sounds great, and something any Knicks fan would be happy to see, but it is hard to imagine Aldridge truly having the Knicks at the top of his wishlist. If he truly would like to return home you can cross the Knicks off the list right now. The Knicks also have potential playoff success brighter than only the Lakers probably of the teams mentioned by Stein.

So while Aldridge would be a great addition, the Knicks cannot bank on him coming aboard. They have to have another plan in place to add talent to a depleted roster. Waiting on Aldridge could torpedo the offseason if they put all their effort into him and he spurns them for another team. While the Knicks will obviously be interested in adding him, as they should be, they have to have one eye on other negotiations as they cannot swing and miss on free agency this summer and force Anthony to do everything for the team once again.

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