Aldridge move just another master class by ever-evolving Spurs

VIDEO: David Aldridge on why LaMarcus Aldridge picked Spurs

This was hardly a roman candle that came out of nowhere on the Fourth of July.  It was a carefully managed, brilliantly-executed plan.

Think of all the things the Spurs have been able to accomplish over the past two decades:

— 18 straight trips to the playoffs.

— 16 consecutive seasons of 50-plus wins.

— 5 NBA championships.

Now this might be the slickest trick of them all.

LaMarcus Aldridge jumps from the Trail Blazers to the Spurs.

While so-called glamour franchises in New York and Los Angeles  keep floundering in their bids to reclaim relevance, little ol’ San Antonio finds a way to keep barreling down the tracks like a locomotive toward championship No. 6.  And maybe 7 and 8.

Just more than 12 months after their last celebratory river parade with an aging roster, the Spurs have made the transition to the next stage of the franchise with a move that was both brash and bold, but also a long time coming.

For even as general manager R.C. Buford and his staff kept juggling a roster built around the aging core of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker to annually compete for championships, they were always looking ahead to this day when the future merged with the present.

“My complete faith and trust in R.C. is never going to change, because of the track record he has,” head coach Gregg Popovich told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “He’s always thinking not just for the next year and the next two years, but the next three years, the next seven years, that type of thing.”

By making all of the necessary moves — trading Tiago Splitter to Atlanta for a handful of beans, letting Aron Baynes go to Detroit, Marco Belinelli to Sacramento — Buford has set up the Spurs not only for next season but perhaps the next decade.

For so many years, the Spurs and their fans have proudly worn the label of a franchise that builds championships rather than buys them.  They were the ones that defiantly took down — and ultimately broke up — the Monied Mercenary Miami Heat of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

But the game of pro basketball is a business and the business is about making the most proficient, often the shrewdest, moves to stay on top of the competition.

Of course, the Spurs will be right back among the teams at the head of the Western Conference class in 2015-16 with a front line of Duncan, Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard.  With this nifty Texas two-step, the Spurs, who lost in the first round of this year’s playoffs, are suddenly 2-1 oddsmakers favorites to win the West, ahead of champion Golden State and Oklahoma City, and 4-1 to win it all, behind only LeBron and Cleveland.

Let’s not forget that with literally billions of dollars being thrown around in the free agent market in less than a week, Buford locked up Aldridge for four years (player option after third) at $80 million.  It’s a number that will look positively pedestrian net summer when the salaries shoot through the clouds with the influx of new TV money.  It almost looks that way now when you consider that Orlando will pay Tobias Harris $64 million over the same time frame.  Go ahead, compare Aldridge and Harris.

But just as important, with Aldridge at 29 and Duncan at 39, the Spurs will be in the thick of the contending pack for the foreseeable future.  That had to be the decision-making difference for Aldridge after he heard pitches from Portland, L.A. Phoenix, Houston and Miami.  Whenever the ageless Duncan finally decides to hang up his spurs, Aldridge has a 24-year-old running mate in Leonard, the 2014 Finals MVP, to keep churning ahead with perennial chances to add to the banner collection.

Don’t think that’s a tough trick to pull off without hitting bottom and suffering the bruises and indignity of suddenly finding out how life feels in the draft lottery?  Just ask the Lakers and Knicks.

As carefully and strategically as Popovich has managed the minutes of his veterans over the years to keep them fresh, Buford maneuvered and managed the salary cap with the flexibility of tiny gymnast to make this day possible.  It was never just a year-to-year reach for one more playoff run, but a decade-long plan to transition to the future.  All the while the Spurs were stacking up Larry O’Brien Trophys, they were keeping an eye on this critical summer when 10 contracts were timed to come off the books at the same time.

“We put the team together with that in mind,” Popovich said.

Sometimes the best-laid plans work out perfectly.

61 Comments

  1. paul says:

    The Spurs would have been NBA champs in 2015 if Duncan have blocked Pauls shot in game seven
    with seconds left in the game. cant believe It

  2. TPeak9 says:

    The Spurs is a formidable team then but will be a powerhouse this coming season. I could count like 10 very solid players that Pop could use night in and night out. You got your star caliber players in Aldridge, Leonard, Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. Then add some very good or serviceable role players in West, Green, Diaw, Mills, Bonner and Baynes. This team is ready to to dominate the NBA once again. Cavs and Warriors better do their homework in the offseason if they want to stand a chance.

  3. julio says:

    Here we come again 1 more before Timmys gone and many more to!

  4. Mike Stern (OFFICIAL) says:

    Undeniable Truth is dominating the discussion here, WOW!

  5. Ramiro Meave says:

    Be ready for a WILD WILD WEST SHOOT OUT.####SPURS NATION####

  6. Undeniable Truth says:

    HAHA its so funny to see PORTLAND fans dumping Aldridge like they don’t even know him, when they were like a few years back admiring him like he was micheal jordan. HAHA, PORTLAND WILL NEVER WIN IN ANYTIME SOON!!! MAYBE PORTLAND FANS SHOULD WATCH THE LAKERS, IT MIGHT BE MORE ENTERTAINING! CAN”T WAIT TO SEE ALDRIDGE PLAY AGAINST PORTLAND, HE”S GONNA WHOOP THEM LIKE NOOBS!

  7. Undeniable Truth says:

    HAHA its so funny to see PORTLAND fans dumping Aldridge like they don’t even know him, when they were like a few years back admiring him like he was micheal jordan. HAHA, PORTLAND WILL NEVER WIN IN ANYTIME SOON!!! MAYBE PORTLAND FANS SHOULD WATCH THE LAKERS, IT MIGHT BE MORE ENTERTAINING! H_A_H_A!

  8. Undeniable Truth says:

    HAHA its so funny to see PORTLAND fans dumping Aldridge like they don’t even know him, when they were like a few years back admiring him like he was micheal jordan. HAHA, PORTLAND WILL NEVER WIN IN ANYTIME SOON!!! MAYBE PORTLAND FANS SHOULD WATCH THE LAKERS, IT MIGHT BE MORE ENTERTAINING! HAHAHAHAHA**&%$#$@$%

  9. Undeniable Truth says:

    HAHA its so funny to see PORTLAND fans dumping Aldridge like they don’t even know him, when they were like a few years back admiring him like he was micheal jordan. HAHA, PORTLAND WILL NEVER WIN IN ANYTIME SOON!!! MAYBE PORTLAND FANS SHOULD WATCH THE LAKERS, IT MIGHT BE MORE ENTERTAINING!

  10. Undeniable Truth says:

    HAHAHA its so funny to see PORTLAND fans dumping Aldridge like they don’t even know him, when they were like a few years back admiring him like he was micheal jordan. HAHA, PORTLAND WILL NEVER WIN IN ANYTIME SOON!!! MAYBE PORTLAND FANS SHOULD WATCH THE LAKERS, IT MIGHT BE MORE ENTERTAINING!

  11. Gerardo Neves says:

    Big move by the Spurs! But now they need to find a new Manu, which may prove to be an impossible task. Maybe Patty Mills can be the new 6th man? But I fear he is too small to impact on the defensive end… Tony has to keep healthy to get his mojo back again, all in all I’m very confident about another excellent season. GO,SPURS,GO!

    • Lovins says:

      Just like everyone else on the Spurs, he draws about 5 offensive fouls a game via flopping. That’s the only way he can play D. San Antonio Floppers, 2016 NBA champs. NBA gets worse every year, sigh.

      • Kalbo!! says:

        What the H are you saying? Do you even know how many floppers are out there? Have you even been watching shqtin a fool? Ever saw a spurs flop there? Did you even see those pathetic flops from other team? What a dumb hater..

  12. LemW says:

    Just like Kevin Garnett and Steve Nash, father time will call Tim Duncan next. The great Tim Duncan of old has gone.

    • Spurs Fan says:

      They say this every year…. lol and he’s still producing at a high level

    • Kalbo!! says:

      Eventually, it’s gonna come. But the thing is, It still hasn’t even it has been expected for a couple of years now.. Why do you have to be so negative and looking forward to it? Probably another dumb hater.

  13. LemW says:

    Trading Tiago Splitter to acquire LaMarcus Aldridge is a pros and cons move., because Tim Duncan has no more gas and Manu Ginobili mighty running low.

  14. UNTIL U DO RIGHT BY THE LEAGUE; ” EVERY THING LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE DO IN THE NBA SHALL FAIL…” IN HIS FIRST SEASON AS A SPUR HE WILL BE INJURED SUFFERING ACHILLES & KNEE INJURIES THAT WILL CAUSE HIM TO MISS MOST OF THE YEARS AND SEASONS TO COME. AND, IT SHALL BE DONE BY DEANDRE JORDAN WHEN HE BECOMES HIS NEIGHBORING RIVAL OF THE DALLAS MAVS CAUSING THE CLIPPERS TO PULL THE FAMOUS “HACK-UH-JORDAN” EVERY TIME HE TOUCHES THE BALL AS L.A. CLIPPER FANS “BOO” HIM EVERY TIME HE STEPS ON THE COURT IN L.A.!!!!! SMALL FRANCHISES IN THE LEAGUE HAVE RESULTED TO CHEATING HATRED FORCING NBA COMMISSIONER TO BLOCK THE LAKER FRANCHISE FROM ACQUIRING FREE-AGENTS LIKE CP3 FROM TEAMING-UP W/ KOBE BUT ALLOW ALDRIDGE TO TEAM-UP W/ PARKER,GREEN, KAWHI, & DUNCAN…MAVS LITERALLY BEGGED JORDAN TO LEAVE L.A. HAVING JUMPED OUT-O-TURN TO COURT HIM FOUR TIMES OUT OF THEIR OWN TURN CHEATING TO GET A HEAD START TO PERSUADE INTEREST B4 FREE-AGENCY EVEN BEGAN ON JULY 1ST BUT THE COMMISSIONER DIDN’T EVEN BLINK TWICE AT WHAT MARK CUBAN & HIS BAND CHEATS WERE DOING TO LURE DEANDRE JORDAN TO THEIR TEAM. IT’S CLEAR SMALL FRANCHISES LIKE THE MAVS & SPURS PLAY DURTY NBA FREE-AGENCY BALL TO LURE & GET THEIR CHEATING WAYS BUT LET BIGGER FRANCHISES LEGALLY SPEND THE MONEY ALL NBA PLAYERS SEEK AND THE COMMISSIONER WILL DO EVERY THING IN IT’S POWER TO STOP FAIR-GAME FROM LEGAL DO PROCESS WHEN LARGER FRANCHISES BUILD SUPER TEAMS. THIS IS DISCRIMINATION AND THE NBA COMMISSIONER KNOWS IT. WHEN WILL LARGE FRANCHISES STAND-UP AGAINST THIS AND REALLY TAKE A STAND AGAINST THIS …IS THE QUESTION AWAITING AN ANSWER!?!??

    • dcawston says:

      Good question “IS THE QUESTION AWAITING AN ANSWER!?!?”? Personally. I’m not sure it is, but then that may be due to how unsure I am as to what the is. I guess we will find out in DO PROCESS.

    • Timmeh says:

      What drugs are you on??

    • Mike says:

      Here is my reply.
      Just like screaming, writing in all caps is not effective. All Caps is very hard to read.
      After I read and figured out what you ranting about here my comment:: Get a life.

  15. robb says:

    The Aldridge landing is sweet for the spurs fan i am, reconciliation with FA hunting.. The Richard Jefferson experience was so horrible, the day they signed him they lost 2 years, 2 precious years for an aging trio still in his prime. Man that was a lot of pain for me

  16. TONY says:

    pop’s system is entirely different than other coaches, Its the best team with a great organisation and talented players .If Aldridge can zync with that system he will become a champion otherwise they will trade him. Bcz Spurs dont make their fans unhappy .

  17. Max says:

    Odd the unusual things that horn and hen playing the Spurs in SAT??????

  18. david says:

    Next on the list of the Spurs flabbergasting the NBA…….
    Tim Duncan breaks through the age ceiling of quality NBA relevance set by the coveted Robert “Chief” Parish.

  19. RipCity2015 says:

    I’ve been a Trail Blazers fan since the 1980’s, and this is the first time that I can remember the top free agent to be had in the NBA coming out of Portland. I wish LaMarcus well (at least he didn’t sign with the Lakers), but I also don’t blame him for leaving. Portland never did much to build around him. Even though it’s tough to lure free agents to Portland, they still could have done a better job of adding better players. Also, it seems to me that Portland ownership isn’t very loyal to anybody, and maybe that was part of the reason he left (see the career of Steve Blake if you don’t believe me). We’ll see how he does in San Antonio where he will not be treated as special. The one thing I remember about LA is how he shriveled under the team leadership of Brandon Roy, and never became the breakout star he is until Roy went down with bad knees. So it will be interesting to see how he handles being a superstar on a roster of superstars with the Spurs. If he wins a ring with the Spurs I’ll feel the same way about it as I did when Drexler won one with the Rockets: I’m glad he got one, but I still wish it could have been with Portland.

  20. dope8oiFresh says:

    as a spurs fan this is interesting…besides Richard Jefferson they’ve never really brought in a player that wasn’t really a spurs system type guy, and Jefferson fell off and was a bust under the system. The spurs rely more on teamwork and high IQ quick sharp decisions…I don’t know if LA has that in his game…he seemed to me to be more of a one on one kinda player or catch and shoot. I think he can fit in but his game will probably be a lot more limited, considering kawaii and tony handle the ball the most and timmy still posts up some. I don’t really see where he’ll fit in, and im not sure how he is on defense. Someone like boris diaw is often more valuable in the spurs system. How does LA run the floor? Im glad he is gonna take less money to try to wins a title..that bodes well for his character and probably desire to fit in…it might sound blasphemous, but maybe he’d be better on the second unit as a go to scorer when the starters are getting rest….I honestly think that would be his best role, perhaps we’ll see that, if he can handle it ego wise. Timmy is still the man

    • Jason says:

      Well said. Perhaps you’re right. Maybe if we (The Spurs) do aquire the services of one David West then your entire opinion will then change. To me it seems as if the Spurs are about to ignite another glorious 10 year run!

    • dc98 says:

      you think the Spurs would pay a guy like LaMarcus an established superstar 20 million dollars to come off the bench … that’s not going to happen

  21. LMA says:

    Spurs not bought but built, who’s buying who now?

  22. Pej says:

    When SA started sending away some of it’s caliber players I knew there is something going on to acquire Aldridge. Thanks it happened what was in my mind, Aldridge a Spurs man now. WOW!

  23. Quique says:

    — I am spurs fan bc of little timmy…this guy will bring more than a ring…a more perfect union under pop and timmy legacy…I b waiting 4 a big new guy : he saw, he came, he liked…we need another guy….Manu… 3 centers as in the 90s …one word: rebornspursleader.

  24. Fan says:

    Wow! Opmy fave team spurs! You got the ryt team LA. I rememeber drexler’s days.. From number 1 player in portland and he went to texan team for championship. Go spurs!

  25. Marty says:

    A lot of prisoners of the moment regarding SA. nobody seems to remember the first round exits.

    • Carlo says:

      You don’t seem to remember they got out in 7 (only series going so far), vs a team who seemed bound to go to the top.
      You also do not understand that playoffs are about matchups and that the Spurs were pitched vs Clippers because of the stupid NBA rules about final ranking putting Division leaders above stronger teams.
      And you forget that the Spurs were able to beat GS during reg.season.

      And then… oh! You’re saying that if a team goes out in 1st round, then they cannot win a title the next year, uh?

      • Spurs Fan says:

        Not only this they lost be 2 points in game 7 by a luck shot by Chris paul. Come on bro

    • Kalbo!! says:

      Just another dumb hater.. We used to be just a low profile team with not much fan and neither any haters. now, we’re growing with both. I guess it’s inevitable. There will always be dumb people like Marty.

  26. MT says:

    Diva.

    Have fun stroking his ego and hope he doesn’t give up in the playoffs like he did against Memphis a few months ago b/c Damian was getting more attention than he was.

  27. Paul says:

    is LA gonna play center in SA?well i hear a lot about LA that he is a power forward in a body of a center

    • dc98 says:

      Timmy is going to be the one playing center like he normally does, but people like to say that he is still a power forward

  28. dtw says:

    Nick …you don’t know what you’re talking about Lebron is a two time nba champion and you can’t do that without playing team ball

    • Carlo says:

      Well, actually you can if your team is stuffed with superplayers and each of them can win in isolation.

      Blatt was hired to coach a young team in rebuilding. He believes in teamplay.
      Then, LBJ jumped in and everything changed.
      No more “rebuilding/long term” plans. “We want it all. Now!” Let’s hire all LBJ friends – all veterans, no young prospects.
      Let’s play isolation. Let’s discard Dellavedova for we need a stronger backup (they were lucky not having found a replacement).

      Now the situation is: any success will be LBJ’s. Any failure will be Blatt’s. Easypeasy.

  29. dtw says:

    My 2 favorite teams now Cleveland and Spurs…one of them will win it all next year…Spurs vs. Lebron rematch!!!

  30. Nothing is guaranteed in the West. It’s gonna be a dogfight to the last game of the season again. Should be a lot of fun. Go Rockets!

    • C4 says:

      I agree. This helps improve spurs’ chances in this year and the next few years. But no guarantee of a ring. But Dallas and Spurs have improved quite a bit this off season so far. The west is going to be fun to watch!

  31. nbafan says:

    Agreed that the Spurs organization has always handled things well. But, Duncan for sure and probably few others accepted way below their max salaries which made Buford’s job mucho mucho easier in adding better players.

    • Carlo says:

      Don’t you think that part of Buford’s job was to make them accept lower salaries?
      Or do you think it’s just “luck”? Yeah, you just happen to hire two or three future HOF’ers who happen to be willing to accept low wages.
      Buford’s job (and that of any NBA manager) is SO easy that every poster in forums thinks he could do it blindfolded.

  32. Nick says:

    What a great organization. It’s a wonder every player isn’t banging down the door to play there. But then again, they play ball the way it was meant to be played – team ball. No room for inflated egos. Just a bunch of guys that really love the game and play TOGETHER ( hear that Lebron?). That’s why they are so much fun to watch. That’s why only the Spurs would trade for a “nobody” like Kawhi, and like Ginobli, and like, Parker, and like …..

  33. anothercavsfan says:

    Hmm am I the only one around here that thinks the Spurs acquiring a big man with a history of injuries is not the best move?

    Really this free agent frenzy, much ado about nothing…

    Even the Clippers losing DeAndre Jordan is not that big of a deal…

    It’s going to be about depth and consistency. That’s what NBA championships always come down to.

    I just hope next season there won’t be as many injuries to all teams as there was this season.

  34. People think that they a shoe in that the spurs will win the championship, better guess again. Aldridge will raise them higher but not over. He couldn’t take the Blazers over the top. Now that the circus is over, We can hear some real basketball news.

    • gonzillas says:

      LA doesn’t have to carry anyone. He’s not the only 1 on the team. They’re bringing him in to add to an already crazy deep roster.

      Are for forgetting TD, Parker Kawhi et al? Those guys CAN carry them over the top. LA just makes it way easier.

    • Kalbo!! says:

      You’re probably just scared of what Spurs can now become. Anyway, a superstar not being able to carry his team shouldn’t be a final judgement of him. Not that we know the Blazers are not a really good organization. But the Spurs are a definition of a structured organization and LA signed with them to submit to its system and not just to lead the organization. Funny you talk like you know a lot in basketball when you clearly don’t.

    • Henry says:

      If the Spurs were healthy this year they would have easily won the title. They are the only team that could have taken out the Warriors. The key is green and kwahi can contain curry and Thompson. Now you add Aldridge? Yeah….

  35. taekayo says:

    The future is set in SA. They just have to acquire a low-profile PG with a good upside in the next 2-3 years (as TP can still ball today), and they have a new big 3. They can either get that in FA or draft it (remember that Tony is #28… #28 FTW!). Players such as Shroder, Smart, Burke… doesn’t have to be high-profile (Wall, Westbrook) or be handsomely paid (Dragic, Bledsoe) or already on other teams’ radars (MCW, Knight), but if they commit to Pop’s system, then they can be the next Tony. Another 5-7 years of playoffs or possibly finals appearances for the Spurs.

  36. harriethehawk says:

    Amazing management and organization. I still don’t have to like them.

    • The Biwg One says:

      Alridge never had the coaching and team mates to get over the hump that he has in San Antonio. Great fit for Spurs. They have to be favorite. Plus they will sign David West and possibly Ray Allen. I’m just saying.

      • Moe says:

        If my team Spurs gets David West that would definitely a good thing. Always been a fan of West style of b-ball. He brings toughness (give me some nasty). A big if Ray Ray comes to the Spurs that would be one more Sniper replacing Marco. So we basically have not lost a step but the team just got better.