If you've been paying attention to the NBA lately, you're well aware that Kevin Love is the hot commodity around the league. There is another guy who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015, however. LaMarcus Aldridge becomes a free agent at the end of next season and no one seems to be speculating where he'll end up. Could he simply resign with Portland? Sure, but should that be an automatic assumption? Definitely not!
So, now that we're on the subject, where does Aldridge end up? Could he follow the trend of today's super star and move to a major market, team up with a couple other big names and hope to go to the Finals four straight years? I guess it's possible, but I don't see Aldridge as that "spot light" guy. One possibility, and maybe even the front runner for Aldridge, is the San Antonio Spurs. By this time next season, the Spurs will have bookoo cap space and plenty of roster space to fill. Whether or not Aldridge lands in San Antonio comes down to a few key factors. Spurs' cap space, Aldridge's Texas roots, and an alluring proven championship system under Gregg Popovich.
Spurs' Cap Space
In 2015, basically the entire team will be off the books, including the big four (Duncan, Ginobili, Leonard, and Parker). However, Duncan and Manu will, most likely retire, freeing up over $17 million in cap space. With a combined $39 million in cap space, they should have plenty to resign Leonard, Parker, and Green and still have enough to sign a guy like Aldridge (assuming he doesn't absolutely need a max deal). If Danny Green chases a bigger payday, even more dough will be on the table as well.
Aldridge is a Texas native. Born and raised in Dallas, TX and an alum of the University of Texas, Aldridge very well may want to come back home to Texas and being closer to his family and friends. If you're an NBA player and want to be in Texas, what better team to play for than the one who has more Larry O'Brian Trophies than the other two combined? In all honesty, I have no idea how Aldridge feels about living in Portland, but you can't rule out the possibility of him wanting to move back to Texas.
Pop's Proven System
As I just touched on, the Spurs have more championships than both the Mavericks and Rockets combined, all under Gregg Popovich. If this season is any inclination of what's to come, Pop's system will be a force to reckon with for the foreseeable future. Why would a 29 year old, championship hopeful want to go somewhere that might workout and not a place that is proven to work? I see Pop playing out the remainder of Tony Parker's career (if not the majoirty of Kawhi Leonard's too). Look at what he built around Parker and the aged Ginobili and Duncan and imagine what he could do with young guns Leonard and Aldridge. One word, deadly!
Right now we really have no idea where Aldridge will end up. What I do know is ruling the Spurs out of contention would be ludicrous. 2015 will be a strange time for Spurs fans, a time where (in my opinion) they witness Manu and Tim both riding off in the sunset. Adding LaMarcus Aldridge to the tandum of Leonard and Parker could considerably ease the pain.