The prized possession of this summers free agent class, LaMarcus Aldridge, has a meeting planned with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks on Thursday. It will be his 7th and final meeting, after meeting with the Lakers, Spurs, Suns, Raptors, Mavericks, and Raptors on Wednesday.
It was believed he may skip out on his meeting with the Knicks, and decide between the Suns and Spurs on Wednesday Night. Instead though, he will go through with his Knicks meeting.
Despite Aldridge’s planned meeting with the Knicks, reports indicate he was blown away by the Spurs pitch, and is intrigued at the chance to bring playoff basketball back to Phoenix. It may not be a realistic goal to expect Aldridge in Manhattan next year, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
One of the big reasons Aldridge has reportedly already spurned the Lakers is because they focused too much on the non basketball side of things to the city of Los Angeles. Aldridge wants to win, and while the Knicks probably aren’t best suited for that now, their pitch will revolve around that.
Phil Jackson has already said he wants basketball players who’s top focus is the game of basketball. What he doesn’t want is players who are looking to come to New York to grow their “brand”, so his pitch will focus on playing under the hand of a man with 13 championships under his belt, Phil Jackson. This should greatly please Aldridge.
Also, Aldridge joining forces with Carmelo Anthony in the weak Eastern Conference could result in a shot at the title down the road. The Knicks are in the weakest division in the league, and could contend for a top five seed with a healthy Melo and Aldridge, and make some noise in the playoffs. With the cap then rising over the next two seasons, theirs no reason why the Knicks won’t be able to build up a team anchored by Aldridge and Anthony to challenge LeBron and the Cavs for a berth in the Finals. That is if Jackson has the pitch skills he believes he possesses.
The Knicks final selling point could be Aldridge being able to stay with his close friend Robin Lopez. The two reportedly were close in Portland and loved playing next to each other. Lopez is on the Knicks radar, and has been interested in playing in New York City for a while due to his brother Brook praising the city for years as a member of the Nets.
Still, it’s hard to see him sign with the Knicks. He has the golden opportunity to join a dynasty in the current San Antonio Spurs, and play with someone he considered an idol in Tim Duncan. If he wants to win now, they are the best choice.
Even the Suns may be a better choice then the Knicks. Jeff Hornacek has impressed greatly through his first two seasons as head coach, and the backcourt of Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe is very exciting. Add in the Morris twins and Tyson Chandler, and Aldridge could be the missing piece to yet another Western Conference powerhouse.
Lastly, even the Trail Blazers make more sense. Damian Lillard is a rising star in the NBA, and Aldridge could cash in for the biggest payday with Portland.
While signing Aldridge is unlikely for the Knicks, it isn’t impossible. It should be a very interesting 24 hours for the Knicks, as they have meetings with Aldridge, Lopez, Aaron Afflalo, DeAndre Jordan, and Greg Monroe all scheduled for tomorrow