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Aldridge Wanted Out

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It seems like more than ever players have been requesting trades from their teams. Why they originally thought they had this power is ridiculous, but it is even more ridiculous that teams are acknowledging these requests and trading that player. Sometimes they do not get enough back because of the circumstances and they also might have to trade them to a contending team.

Kyrie Irving seemed like the guy that paved a path this offseason for guys to be more comfortable requesting a trade. Irving had a great situation in playing with LeBron James and going to the finals in three consecutive years. He handled the ball often and could call his number when wanted. It also helped that he was traded to the reigning number one seed in the Eastern Conference where he could be “The Guy”. Guys like Eric Bledsoe and Jahlil Okafor have also requested for trade during the season and both got their requests accepted. Bledsoe to the Bucks and Okafor to the Nets. These were all highly publicized when the stories broke and it was something that the front offices had to deal with quickly.

Reportedly, LaMarcus Aldridge had also requested a trade during the offseason. But it has just been released in the last few days. How does a guy like LaMarcus Aldridge not get any publicity when he requests a trade? Easy answer: It is the Spurs. Often compared to the Patriots, the Spurs are a very quiet team when it comes to the media and it is led by their coach, Gregg Popovich.

In an interview on the 11th of January, Popovich was asked why Aldridge has had a resurgence this year. Popovich was very honest, responding with, “When he said, ‘I want to be traded.” The coach went on to say, “It’s as simple as that. I said, Whoa, nobody’s ever said that to me before. It’s my 20-whatever year, and nobody’s ever said that, like, I’m not enjoying this. I’m not confident. I’m not sure you want me here. I want to be traded.”

Aldridge and Popovich had many dinners and meetings together during the offseason to try and work on getting Aldridge more comfortable and to feel like he was wanted more than he had felt. They obviously worked it out and Aldridge is benefiting from it. According to Popovich, the key is to not over-coach LaMarcus. And obviously, everything that they changed is working out tremendously for Aldridge. Last year, Aldridge averaged his two lowest points per game average in his first two seasons with the Spurs. They are his lowest two averages since his first two years in the league. So far this year he is averaging 22.4 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game.

It is very possible that this resurgence would be happening somewhere else is the Spurs were not as media repelling as they are. If the news got out, teams would start calling and the media would create a drama filled narrative that would basically force the Spurs to trade him, similar to how the Kyrie and Bledsoe requests went. But, the way Pop was able to pin this within the organization only adds to his ability as a coach, as well as being able to persuade Aldridge to want to stay.

With Kawhi Leonard missing all but nine games this year, Aldridge has picked up the slack. Something that he could not do after Leonard got hurt in the series last year against the Warriors. If Aldridge can get back to playing at even a somewhat all-star level, when Kawhi gets back and fully healthy, those two and Pop are a deadly trio that could take down the any team in the league.

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About Aaron Morse

UW-La Crosse Class of 2019 | Majoring in Sports Journalism. Minoring in Sports Broadcasting and Coaching | You can follow me on Twitter @FlyinHawaiian36

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