How the Dallas Mavericks Can Sign LaMarcus Aldridge


Few will deny PF LaMarcus Aldridge is the Dallas Mavericks’ top target this offseason, but what will it take to lure the highly sought after All-Star?

Everyone from New York, to Boston, to LA, to San Antonio, to Dallas has expressed interest in signing the 29-year old free agent All-Star, LaMarcus Aldridge.  And why shouldn’t they? Aldridge has established himself as one of the very best players in the NBA averaging 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1 block per game last season.

His 22.85 player efficiency rating is 3rd in the NBA amongst PFs. Only Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis are scoring higher. Aldridge’s 14.2 Earned Wins Average is also standing in 3rd place. Aldridge’s numbers speak for themselves, but his intangibles also add to his value.

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LaMarcus Aldridge plays both ends of the court, and while he’s best known for offense, his defense is better than average (no offense to Dirk, but ‘better than average’ is head and shoulders better than anything Mavs fans have seen from the PF position in over a decade).

Because of the extra year contract option, Portland has the leg up in signing Aldridge. Only the incumbent employer can offer that extra year (and larger escalating salaries along the way), so to leave Portland, would be leaving roughly $25M on the table. For that fact alone, Portland is still the favorite.

Of the outside suitors, the Spurs represent the Mavericks’ single biggest competition. Aldridge has made it known he’s interested in returning to Texas, and while that benefits the Dallas Mavericks, it also benefits the Spurs. The problem is, the Spurs don’t need help luring top end players to their franchise.

The Spurs have a strong stable of talent both young and old. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili may be on their last legs, but they still have much to offer for the short term since they’re expected to return for one more season. Tony Parker is electric when healthy, and Danny Green, who is expected to be locked up long-term, is a perfect 3-point shooter who pairs well with Aldridge’s intermediate game.

Most importantly, Kawhi Leonard, the should-be All-Star, is expected to receive a max contract of his own, ensuring a fellow superstar sidekick for the long-term. The Spurs not only have a recent history of success, but they’re set up to be a legitimate contender in the future as well. Aldridge would serve as the focal point and the missing piece. Pretty ideal situation.

The Mavs?

The Dallas Mavericks don’t have much to offer. They can throw money at him, but not any more than anyone else. They don’t have any top-end talent locked up either. Dirk is fading away by the day (pun intended), Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler are soon-to-be free agents of their own, and even if they are retained, they’re 2nd tier players at best.

The best chance the Dallas Mavericks have at luring ANY free agent to Dallas is to use Rick Carlisle’s stability and Mark Cuban’s willingness to spend money, as its top assets. Unfortunately that’s the same strategy the Mavs have used the past few years, and we know how that turned out.

So the Mavs have to work quickly.

The Dallas Mavericks need to lock up their own free agents ASAP so they can, at the very least, show a roster to the would-be Mav. They need to explain Popovich is on his way out in San Antonio, (retiring soon) and Carlisle is here to stay.

If the Mavs can get Aldridge to sign for 1 year (2nd year player option), they could give him that money he left behind in Portland, next year. The salary cap is expected to explode and with it, players’ salaries. If Aldridge can forgo guaranteed money in year one, he could get all the money back, AND play on the team of his choice.

The most important thing is the roster.

The Dallas Mavericks need to lock in an attractive roster that is built to compete from Day 1 and continue to compete every day thereafter. That’s no easy task since the roster is essentially a bare cupboard, but building champions isn’t meant to be easy.

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