Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich shared that power forward LaMarcus Aldridge asked to be traded this past summer, something he said has never happened to him before
Before the team's matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night, Popovich shared the chisme with media outlets.
"He said 'I'm not enjoying this. I'm not confident. I'm not sure you want me here. I want to be traded,'" Popovich told KSAT
The celebrated coach said the direct request led him to honest conversations between him and the now-star player, who the Spurs obtained in 2015 when he was undoubtedly the most sought-after free agent
(he also met with the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat and the Lakers). The Dallas-native decided to return to Texas for the chance to play with Tim Duncan
and lead the team once the legend retired.
Off to a shaky start, Aldridge struggled to find his groove with the rest of the team. During Aldridge's second season with the Spurs, ESPN senior writer Zach Lowe published his annual 30 Crazy Predictions
article, which included the possibility of the Spurs trading Aldridge during the regular season
. A crazy prediction, yes, since Lowe didn't cite any sources.
Then, a week after Lowe's article was published, ESPN reporter Jackie MacMullan's appearance on NBC's Early Edition
included her saying league sources indicated Aldridge might not finish the 2016-2017 season in a Spurs jersey. The rumor was that Aldridge and the Spurs were not as good a match as they had anticipated
But it seems that all of that has been put to rest with Popovich telling KSAT that the forward's improved performance this season comes after he spewed some tough love
"I told him I would be happy to trade him. You get me a talent like Kevin Durant and I will drive you to the airport
," he told KSAT with a laugh.
In his conversation with Aldridge, Popovich said he noted that his contract was good for another year, and said he wouldn't trade the player so they could figure out his talents and make it work.
After making changes to the team's offense to make Aldridge more comfortable, the Spurs extended a three-year $72 million contract extension
just days before this season began, according to KSAT.