The Oregonian reported earlier this month that one of Aldridge’s teammates thinks there is a “50/50” chance that Aldridge leaves Portland.
To that end, Marc Stein reported on Thursday that the Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs will chase Aldridge in free agency this summer. The Knicks will have at least $25 million in cap space.
General manager Steve Mills said a few weeks ago that the team wouldn’t chase after big names just to make a splash. Instead, it would pursue players who fit into the Knicks’ system.
Aldridge fits both criteria.
He’s widely seen as a player who can thrive in the triangle offense. The 29-year-old is effective in the post and can knock down a perimeter shot. Those skills, of course, are valuable in any offense. But they have significant value in the triangle, which can produce plenty of post touches and midrange shots.
When Aldridge told The Oregonian in July that he wanted to sign a five-year contract to remain in Portland, most league observers assumed that the Knicks had no chance to land Aldridge.
But last month, two opposing executives said the belief in some league circles was that San Antonio and New York would be on Aldridge’s radar and that Aldridge wasn't as committed to re-signing in Portland as he'd been months earlier. The Blazers currently trail their first-round series with Memphis 2-0.
It's worth noting here that Aldridge would have to leave money on the table if he signed with another team. Opposing teams can only sign Aldridge to a four-year max contract.
But Aldridge can also choose to sign a one-year contract this summer and then sign a maximum contract in 2016 that is much more lucrative due to the increased salary cap.
One other thing to note on Aldridge: inking him to a maximum salary this summer would leave the Knicks with roughly $7 million to pursue other free agents. That’s not much money, but it’s a problem that Phil Jackson would welcome if it meant bringing one of the NBA's top big men to New York.
Question: Do you think LaMarcus Aldridge would succeed in New York? Should the Knicks make him a priority?