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LaMarcus Aldridge won’t accept Trail Blazers’ max-extension offer, wants five-year deal as free agent

Jul 8, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

LaMarcus Aldridge LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge just completed a career year, finishing 10th in MVP voting and leading the Trail Blazers to their first playoff series in 14 years.

Now, Portland wants to pay him as much as possible in order to keep him.

As expected, he’ll pass.

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian:

Aldridge is happy in Portland now. This is all about money.

Aldridge is locked into a 2014-15 salary of $16,006,000.

He can sign a three-year extension that would pay him $55,490,801 over the following three years.

Or he can wait to become a free agent in 2015, when – based on a rough salary-cap estimate in which the cap rises annually by the same amount it’s projected to rise this year – he could sign a five-year contract worth up to $109,106,328.

Here’s Aldridge’s projected max salaries – on an extension (black) and new contract (red):

image

Though playing out his existing contract and seeking a new deal rather than taking an extension seems like the smart move, Aldridge is taking a risk. He turns 29 next week. At 30, will he definitely command a max contract?

Aldridge’s stock has never been higher. It’s also possible it never will be higher.

This path carries risk for the Trail Blazers, too. Maybe they save money negotiating next summer if Aldridge has a down year, but they could lose him entirely. Even if he enters free agency intent on staying in Portland, it would be foolish for him not to at least meet with other teams at that point. And then what if he unexpectedly really likes a pitch he hears?

That’s why the Trail Blazers want to lock up Aldridge now. Thanks to the new CBA’s restrictive view on contract extensions, though, it just won’t happen.

One other thing to keep an eye on: Aldridge’s next season will be his ninth in the league. NBA max contracts are determined by experience level, and that’s split into three tiers – 0-6 years, 7-9 years and 10+ years. Maybe Portland could sell Aldridge on a one-year extension, so he becomes a free agent in 2016 seeking the 10-years-of-experience max – roughly projected to be $135,788,543 over five years.

The Trail Blazers would keep Aldridge under contract for an extra season, and he’d get a little more short-term security. The big risk for him would be trying to draw a max contract at age 31, but he’s prepared to go for it at 30. What’s one more year?

  1. bballhistorian - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    Im sure Clyde Drexler would have something to say about that….

    • genericcommenter - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      “Take the money”?

      • ranfan12 - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        fair enough

  2. antistratfordian - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Well that is very risky – either that or he’s full of it and this is just a cover story.

  3. udkidd - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    I would take the guaranteed money. At age 30 why would you give a player the max 5 years. Typically a NBA players best years are 26-30. IE this year.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      Bosh is 30, doesn’t produce half of what LMA does, and he’s still getting max offers. Anything’s possible.

    • AZ Dem - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      LeBron will be 30 later this year.

  4. sumkat - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    I’m not saying the Blazers wouldn’t give him a max at 31, depending on what he and the team did over the next few years. But I can’t see any other team givin him a max deal at that age. I think he’s doing the smart thing, waiting 1 year and taking the max. 2 years is too much of a gamble for me.

    If you are going to take a gamble, the 30 million difference in 9 and 10 year max contracts may be worth taking if you are him. But if it’s me, unless i get a wink and a nod deal from the Blazers that I am going to get that max contract unless i nosedive the next 2 years, I think I’d stick with what he’s doing now

  5. innovativethinking87 - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Aldridge is very nice. I’d give him anything he wants. Everytime I see the Blazers him and Lillard always kill and I live in the east coast and don’t see much Portland games. Then I watch the playoffs this year and he slaughters the Rockets.

    This is a no brainer. Sign and seal that man.

  6. 00maltliquor - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    There’s no risk at all. Channing Frye is 31 and just signed a 4 year deal making 8 million per and he’s not even half the player LMA is and he has a ton of injury history. Players get PAID. On top of that BIGS get paid. This is more of a risk to POR then it is to LMA by a longshot. Worst case scenario if he sucks and puts up Bosh type #s (who is STILL commanding max dollars!) can just leave POR and go knocking on Rob Hennigan’s door, ORL will be good for a ridiculous payout. I don’t see him doing less then 14 and 6 so he’s straight.

  7. campcouch - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Refreshing. A story about a star wanting to stay with his team. Not looking to join the Superfriends or hang out on a beach or global marketing. He sees his own squad’s progress and potential and likes the city.

    • rrhoe - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      Amen to that…..

    • whoisferg - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      In other words…a guy that will never win a title. Not being a hater, just being real.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2014 at 6:34 AM

      You know, if Cleveland and Toronto had shown progress and potential, James and Bosh might never have left in the first place. Too bad they showed aging, capped-out supporting pieces that didn’t support too well.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 9, 2014 at 8:15 AM

        of course this is pure speculation…but i bet the Cavs would have contended and maybe win a title(s) if james would have stayed…but who knows. same could be said for the Lakers if Shaq never left or the Bulls if MJ didnt take a break…

    • loungefly74 - Jul 9, 2014 at 8:13 AM

      love the comment, camp. yeah, have faith in the franchise. Portland has the potential to do great things. as far as it hurting his chances as a title, well…thats his risk…but the NBA and the majority of fans will appreciate his approach…except for the team he could have went too…

      • bkbell3 - Jul 9, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        loungefly74, Portland has been playing the potential game for the last, what, 8-10 years going back to roy and oden and expecting and still waiting for batum to explode into a star. Potential can be a heavy burden to carry and the west is just to tough every year. Would of been nice to see what a healthy oden and roy etc. would of done. I don’t think portland has enough to get it done any time soon.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        my goodness…yeah, if Oden and Roy never had injury problems…what could have been for the blazers…

    • dstroi - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      I couldn’t have stated your comment any better! This is what I was trying to convey on previous threads related to the LBJ debacle. LaMarcus Aldridge and players like him should be the face of the NBA. Divas who jump from team to team to simply chase rings with other “allstar” caliber players doesn’t prove much in the challenge standpoint of things (IMO). This is all we hear about now in conjunction with the “decision” or “pamper me like Dwight Howard” nonsense. What direction is the NBA going? No doubt this is all about money and entertainment but to me, the NBA is turning into a circus show. Where is the pride of these players to be prominent to one team? IMO, some of these superstars are just trying to over throne MJ’s status and stats. But to me, this is why they will never be better than MJ let alone the same category. Finally, before you flood me with over the wall diatribes, please let me know where I am wrong?

  8. hojo20 - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    And if he blows out his knee this season?

  9. kb2408 - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Some team will offer him a max contract next season. LMA’s productivity is not based on athleticism, it’s based on skill. He’s in the mold of players like Dirk and Timmy. In other words, players that barring injury will be very productive well into their mid to late 30’s.

    • whoisferg - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      I agree. LA plays like old school guys. Terrific talent.

  10. clevelandrox - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    wow, didnt know he was that old…where did the years go…

  11. campcouch - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    At no point will you hear a NBA defense say, “Aldridge has the ball, double Mo Williams!”…he deserves that max.

  12. zukny1 - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    for some reason i simply like players more that want to stay in one town

  13. csbanter - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:28 AM

    Aldridge don’t be foolish with that Microsoft money take that dough now

  14. loungefly74 - Jul 9, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    …and this is why i see Melo leaving NY. He could have done the same…play this year in NY (with a huge salary)..and then resign at a huge max contract in 2015 which would be bigger than the max extension he would have signed this year in NY. the motivation is about playing somewhere else.

    as far as Aldridge, hey, good for him. he wants to stay but get paid, yo.

  15. bigmeechy74 - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Just take the money now. You never know what can happen. He could blow out his knee. It’s never a good idea to turn down that much money

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