We might be talking about the Phoenix Suns’ playoff chances instead of their lottery chances had LaMarcus Aldridge gone in a different direction last summer. Aldridge, then a free agent, had narrowed his choices down to Phoenix and the San Antonio Spurs. Obviously, the Spurs won out, but the Suns were right there in the thick of things. How “in it” they were has been a matter of contention, though. Was LMA actually that close to signing with the Suns, or was that just something the Suns put out to save face after whiffing on his services? Aldridge clarified things to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
“It was very close,” said Aldridge, who was initially reluctant to discuss the Suns’ chances with him. “It came down to the final minute, to the final day of me trying to make a decision of coming here or going to San Antonio.”
“It came down, neck and neck, between Phoenix and San Antonio. It wasn’t overplayed. That was accurate.”
An Aldridge/Tyson Chandler frontcourt had the potential to be as devastating as the Aldridge/Eric Bledsoe pick and pop. He would have immediately vaulted the Suns into a top-5 team in the West, at least on paper. Then again, as we’ve seen with the Suns this season, what appears great on paper can crumble quickly in reality.
It’s a good thing Aldridge went with the Spurs, because he would have been miserable in the Suns’ current situation. Maybe Aldridge’s presence would have changed the trajectory of the Phoenix’s season, but their issues have very little to do with talent and everything to do with chemistry. Meanwhile, the Spurs are humming along with Aldridge shining alongside Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. They’re right behind the Warriors in terms of favorites for the NBA title. The Suns are right behind the Timberwolves for the fourth pick in the NBA draft.
(Via Arizona Republic)