The Los Angeles Lakers got a second chance to impress their top free-agent target, LaMarcus Aldridge, on Thursday night in a meeting that lasted about 90 minutes and focused entirely on basketball, sources told ESPN.
The Lakers had requested the second meeting after being informed that their first presentation to the star power forward had been coolly received because it focused too much on off-the-court business and marketing opportunities in Los Angeles for one of the NBA's glamour franchises and not enough on how the team planned to use Aldridge on the court.
One source with knowledge of both meetings said it took more than an hour before the Lakers laid out a vision for rebuilding their roster and how Aldridge fit into that in the first meeting. The presentation also was wholly lacking in analytics, which appeared even worse after the analytics-minded Houston Rockets followed them into the room Tuesday night.
After getting feedback on Aldridge's reaction to their presentation, the Lakers requested and were granted a second meeting Thursday night. One source said they made a point of apologizing to the 29-year-old Aldridge for not giving a more well-rounded presentation and thanking him for giving them a second chance. In addition to general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott, they brought assistant coach Mark Madsen to the presentation. Madsen is the liaison between the coaching staff and the franchise's analytics staff.
After meeting with the Lakers, Aldridge left for a dinner meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley, a source told ESPN's Marc Stein. The Heat's foray into the Aldridge sweepstakes comes hours after the team agreed with Dwyane Wade on a one-year, $20 million contract. The Heat would have to shed significant contracts and players to clear enough room to make a maximum contract offer to Aldridge, or work with the Portland Trail Blazers on a sign-and-trade likely involving Chris Bosh.
One team apparently out of the Aldridge sweepstakes is the New York Knicks, as the veteran forward canceled his planned meeting with the team, according to reports.
According to a report from The Oregonian, Lillard is traveling to the L.A. area with the hope that he can meet with Aldridge directly and attempt to recruit him to stay in Portland.
The Spurs are regarded as the favorites to sign Aldridge, a source close to the situation told ESPN. However, he is still weighing presentations from the Mavericks, Lakers and Rockets as well as a return to the Trail Blazers and is said to be "torn" as this process stretches into its third day.
ESPN's Marc Stein contributed to this report.