Life and basketball both move on without you.
The Spurs will move on without Tim Duncan. So it goes.
The 2016-2017 season is upon is and while the Spurs sport familiar faces, they have a new set of circumstances: inner turmoil.
LaMarcus Aldridge might be traded? What? Ever since Zach Lowe (see below) mentioned it, it has been brought up. The surprise is two-fold: it is the Spurs that are having this issue. And the Spurs just signed the dude last season.
But LMA might not have been happy before the All-Star break last year
The “rumblings in NBA circles” about Aldridge wanting to go to the Cavs last year do not make any sense. If his concern in San Antonio is an offense that doesn’t revolve around him, why would he want to go to Cleveland and be the third banana?
Right. That does not make sense. But it still could be true. I never fully understood LMA’s unhappiness in Portland. More than a few dudes who follow the league mentioned that it was weird that LMA started doing the things he refused to do in Portland — rolling hard to the rim, defending, deferring on offense — but did in San Antonio with gusto. Or maybe it was only perceived gusto.
While he says the right things about winning, he does hint at his discomfort with his numbers.
“To be seen as still valuable and still one of the top players in the league even though I’m not averaging 25, that’s pretty nice,” he said.
Winning is the objective, but Aldridge admitted, “When you do something for nine years, that’s who you are.”
This is a storm that is just beginning to brew. Let’s check in on other things.
What else does Zach Lowe have for us?
- The Clippers, not the Spurs, will be the No. 2 seed in the West
It’s ridiculous to worry about the Spurs. Their defense can survive without Tim Duncan; they allowed 98.6 points per 100 possessions when Duncan sat last season, a mark that would have led the entire stinking league. They beat younger, stupider teams just by making the proper play every time on both ends.
But I’m a little worried about the Spurs. Their defense and rebounding should take a hit with Pau Gasol sliding into Duncan’s starting spot alongside LaMarcus Aldridge. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are a combined 73 years old, and San Antonio didn’t add anyone to soak up some pick-and-roll duty. (Scouts love Dejounte Murray, but it’s hard to see him playing much as a rookie.)
That is good analyzing. This Blog maintains a sense of unease at the thought of relying on Pau Gasol for anything other than offense. We watched him in the Olympics, and while he put up nice numbers, he could not move his feet well defensively. As the New Looming Threat is the same old Warriors, the prospect of Gasol and Aldridge having to guard Draymond and — gulp — KD?
I am starting to see why the Spurs would consider trading LMA. I disagree on the Dejounte Murray note. I think he gets significant minutes. Barring some miraculous jump in production from any of the back end of the roster or an injury, DM should be getting the third PG minutes that translate to lots of playing time in blowouts and back-to-backs.
He is the athlete we gave up (George Hill) and the youth that we do not have any more (Tony Parker) at the premier position in the league. He is still learning his place in the league but his ability combined with the confidence (cockiness?) provide some of the swashbuckling swagger that Manu just does not have every night. Also, he still has Tony, Manu, and even Patty to learn from. That’s something to be hopeful of.