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Batum says Aldridge doesn’t want to be traded, just wants team to improve

Aug 23, 2013, 8:44 AM EDT

Nicolas Batum AP

What else was Nicolas Batum going to say? That his team’s best player wants out?

Rumors have swirled this summer that Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of Portland and his people have asked for a trade. Aldridge has denied this but the talk has continued to swirl.

Nicolas Batum was asked about those rumors, speaking with Hoopshype and he denied it, too.

I heard that too and I laughed when I read that. He doesn’t want to get traded, he wants the team to get better. LaMarcus is a winner….

I mean, I know that’s what he wants. We had two bad seasons and missed the playoffs and wants the team to improve. I think he didn’t ask for a trade. He wants to stay and win with the Blazers. He just wants a better team around him so we can get back to the playoffs.

I am sure part of that is true — I have no doubt Aldridge wants the team to win. And the first step in Portland retaining him after this contract is to have a team that can be a playoff threat in place.

Whether that is enough or if he really does want out we will see in time.

Portland is going to be better this season — they won just 33 games last season but are capable of a jump. This roster has better talent on it than 33 wins, and they added some good pieces this off-season such as Robin Lopez (letting Aldridge play his natural four spot), Thomas Robinson and Mo Williams. Is that enough to jump into the playoffs in a deep West?

Batum says it is the team’s goal.

I think the playoffs. We have to try to get a spot and we have the team to do it. Get a good spot and go from there.

Just getting there would be a good first step.

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