The Los Angeles Lakers had the chance to make the first impression on LaMarcus Aldridge at the onset of the free agency period on Tuesday night, but it doesn’t appear that the organization made an encouraging pitch rather quite the contrary.
The Lakers were surprised to learn that the All-Star big man was less than impressed by the team’s presentation, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The reasoning for this perception was due to the presentation being more focused on off-the-court opportunities in Los Angeles than discussing basketball.
Los Angeles had gone into the meeting with a group that included general manager Mitch Kupchak, head coach Byron Scott, Kobe Bryant team president Jeanie Buss, former Laker great James Worthy, and Jim Buss, who is part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations.
During the meeting, Aldridge had asked Bryant about how the two can play together and Bryant responded with a comparison of the dynamic of he and former Laker Pau Gasol shared.
It Initially appeared that the Lakers were on the upswing with Aldridge as early reports stated that the 29-year-old looked “engaged” during the two-hour meeting. However as time passed by the feeling that was becoming prominent was that Aldridge wasn’t moved by Los Angeles, and had reportedly crossed the team off his list of potential landing spots.
At this same notion, it is believed that both the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns have become feasible options for his services next season. The Suns are said to have made an appealing presentation to him on Wednesday, which was only boosted by the addition of free agent center Tyson Chandler on a four-year, $52 million contract.
Meanwhile, San Antonio has made a flurry of moves since the start of free agency by locking up their star Kawhi Leonard to a five-year, $90 million deal and re-signed Danny Green to a four-year, $45 million contract. The Spurs also were able to move Tiago Splitter’s $8.5 million contract to the Atlanta Hawk that has opened up enough cap space for the team to add Aldridge if he chooses to do so. Along with these moves San Antonio has much to offer such as being a consistent title contender, possessing a great culture and team chemistry, and having no state income tax.
With Aldridge out of the picture and the free agent market moving fast, this leaves the Lakers’ main focus on DeAndre Jordan. The organization had a two-hour meeting with Jordan on Wednesday night, but there are conflicting reports on how the sit down went ranging from him being underwhelming to it going well.
The Lakers also had a meeting with Greg Monroe on Wednesday morning, and had reportedly offered him a max contract. However, Monroe decided on Thursday to take a three-year, $59 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
This leaves the Lakers waiting on to make his decision Jordan makes his decision on where he will sign. The free agent market has some other options left such as Tobias Harris or Robin Lopez. Los Angeles has also reportedly expressed interest in a handful of free agents that includes Amare’ Stoudemire, Wayne Ellington, Ed Davis, Carlos Boozer, and Jordan Hill.