Sources: Aldridge not impressed by Lakers
Less than 24 hours after meeting with highly coveted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge, the Los Angeles Lakers are “stunned” to hear that Aldridge was less than impressed by their presentation, a source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The Lakers were the first to sit down with Aldridge, in a meeting that lasted nearly two hours and had seemed to the Lakers to go “really well,” a source told Shelburne.
However, Aldridge was underwhelmed with the meeting, a source told ESPN’s Chris Broussard, saying that the presentation focused too much on the off-the-court amenities of life in Los Angeles and not enough on basketball. The Lakers tried to sell Aldridge on the marketing opportunities available in L.A., the Los Angeles Times reported.
Aldridge was described as “engaged” but “noncommittal” during the presentation, reported the Los Angeles Times. A source told the Times that Aldridge has crossed the Lakers off his list of potential destinations.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant was in attendance at the meeting. Aldridge asked Bryant how he thought they would play together and Bryant compared it to his dynamic with former teammate Pau Gasol, a source told Shelburne.
For his part, Bryant weighed in on Twitter.
Social Media reporting shouldn’t diminish the quality of content #justsayin pic.twitter.com/bpAcJGJW9r
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 1, 2015
Aldridge also scheduled meetings with the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors, league sources told ESPN.com.
According to one ESPN source, the chance of Aldridge staying with the Portland Trail Blazers is “very unlikely.”
A source close to the talks tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Suns have moved into a contending position alongside San Antonio in the fight to steal Aldridge away from Portland.
The Suns took a big step in appealing to Aldridge on Wednesday by coming to terms with free-agent center and defensive specialist Tyson Chandler. Aldridge does not like playing center and the presence of Chandler in Phoenix as a rim deterrent, sources say, makes the Suns more attractive. Chandler attended the Suns’ meeting with Aldridge on Wednesday, a source told Shelburne.
Sources say San Antonio remains the biggest threat to the Blazers with its championship pedigree, its Lone Star State address (Aldridge played his college ball at Texas) and the persuasive powers of Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard, all of whom pitched Aldridge directly Wednesday at a morning meeting.
But the Suns, sources say, have indeed grabbed Aldridge’s attention and have moved past teams such as the Lakers and Mavericks who were previously threats to be high in the running for the 29-year-old’s services. The Suns would have to strike a sign-and-trade deal or clear out some current contracts on the books to create the needed salary-cap space for Aldridge, but they’re naturally prepared to go down those roads if Aldridge tells them he wants to come to the desert.