UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs have agreed to a contract extension.
When LaMarcus Aldridge signed a 4-year, $84 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs back in the summer of 2015, the basketball world couldn’t wait to see what Gregg Popovich and the Spurs organization would do with a player with that much offensive skill. The Spurs rarely attract top-end free agents, so the Aldridge signing was universally praised. It was a no-brainer.
Unfortunately for both the Spurs and Aldridge, the pairing has been far from perfect. Aldridge missed the All-Star team for the first time in five seasons last year, and after a disappointing playoff run, it appeared as though Aldridge’s relationship with the Spurs was getting worse, not better. Until now.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that the Spurs and Aldridge are engaged in serious discussions about a contract extension that could keep Aldridge in San Antonio for four more years. Aldridge has a $22.3 million player option for next season, so the Spurs have some incentive to lock him up long-term now before they risk losing him for nothing in free agency next summer.
Wojnarowski laid out two different scenarios that could keep Aldridge on the Spurs moving forward.
There’s an 11:59 deadline on Monday for Aldridge to reach an agreement with San Antonio that would allow him to opt into the $22.3 million player option on his 2018-19 contract and extend his deal for a maximum of three additional years.
If no deal is reached by midnight, Aldridge could amend his contract during the season to eliminate his 2018-19 player option and extend for an additional four seasons.
Wojnarowski notes that the Spurs have had trade discussions centered around Aldridge as recently as this summer, which tells you everything you need to know about their relationship to him. It sounds a lot like the Spurs are trying to protect the value of their asset because they are afraid of losing him for nothing next summer, and it’s harder to trade a player like Aldridge when there is that much uncertainty around his contract situation.