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Bruce Bowen allows LaMarcus Aldridge to wear retired No. 12 with Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- Former Spurs great Bruce Bowen has given his blessing for LaMarcus Aldridge to wear his retired No. 12 jersey.

The Spurs retired the No. 12 three years ago as a tribute to Bowen, the former starting small forward on three San Antonio championship teams (2003, 2005 and 2007).

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford called Bowen, an ESPN analyst, to ask about giving up his retired number to Aldridge, who last week agreed to a four-year deal worth more than $80 million as the club's prized acquisition in free agency.

Bowen immediately agreed, according to the Express-News.

"You want LaMarcus to feel part of the family," Bowen told the Express-News. "If I can have a hand in that, shoot, why not? I don't play anymore.

"I hope it helps [Aldridge] feel comfortable. If he's comfortable, the sky's the limit for him here."

Aldridge has worn No. 12 throughout his entire nine-year NBA career.

A four-time NBA all-star, Aldridge averaged a career-high 23.4 points while averaging 10.2 rebounds per game last season with the Portland Trail Blazers. Multiple teams -- including the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat -- also tried to woo Aldridge in free agency.

The Spurs officially announced Aldridge's deal with the team Thursday.