The San Antonio Spurs had a quiet offseason during the NBA’s craziest summer ever, but before the 2017 season kicked off, they signed LaMarcus Aldridge to an extension.
LaMarcus Aldridge joined the San Antonio Spurs as a free agent prior to the 2015-16 season. He was the biggest free agent signing by the Spurs since Bruce Bowen.
Aldridge left the comforts of Portland for the opportunity to compete for titles and play in the Spurs well-regarded system. However, since joining the team, Aldridge has struggled to recreate the player he was in Portland.
That did not stop San Antonio from signing the big man to a three-year, $73.3 million extension.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the extension will kick in prior to the 2019 season. Aldridge has agreed to opt into next year’s $22.3 million option, and the deal contains a partially guaranteed third year.
The Spurs dangled Aldridge as a trade target throughout the summer, including during the draft, hoping to acquire a high draft pick. A divorce between the two sides seemed likely. The star big man also clashed with coach Gregg Popovich and blamed the organization for his declining play.
Apparently the two sides have sorted their differences. This extension seems ill-timed, and early signs make it seem like a mistake from an exemplary organization.
Aldridge is a throwback big man who thrives in the mid-range, which is why San Antonio was confident he would fit. However, with Kawhi Leonard continuing to make strives as a player and playmaker, Aldridge is in a similar situation he abandoned in Portland.
He is clearly the second option but does not do enough of the little things that those second options need to do. Despite standing 6-foot-11, Aldridge refuses to play center and has averaged only eight rebounds per game during his Spurs tenure. He is an aging player on an old roster that does not move the needle much.
The Spurs need Aldridge to start the season, especially with any games missed by Leonard. Once Leonard comes back; will Aldridge again be upset by being the number two option? Can Popovich keep him happy?
This extension, especially with cap space tightening around the league and an aging Spurs roster, does not make much sense. San Antonio needs to capitalize on having an MVP and DPOY candidate in his prime. Aldridge, while talented, will be 36 when this deal ends. Leonard deserves better, and we all thought the Spurs would provide that.