San Antonio Spurs sign free agent big man LaMarcus Aldridge

July 9, 2015

After getting eliminated in a closely-contested first round playoff series with the LA Clippers, the San Antonio Spurs took a major step toward resuming their title-winning ways, as the team announced that they have signed star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

To make room for Aldridge, the Spurs traded veteran center Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for a protected 2017 second round draft pick and the draft rights to Georgios Printezis.

Aldridge is a versatile 4 who can score either down low on the block or outside with his reliable jump shot.  He took less money to sign with the Spurs than he could have received had he remained in Portland.

Not only should his game mesh seamlessly with Tim Duncan and company, but he also forms a new core going forward with emerging star Kawhi Leonard.

Aldridge also was courted by the Los Angeles Lakers, who reportedly met with him twice, but failed to make a strong enough basketball-related presentation, preferring instead to emphasize less relevant subjects such as branding and the off-the-court benefits Los Angeles had to offer.  

The 6-11, 260-pound Aldridge joins the Spurs after spending his first nine NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. Last year he was named to the All-NBA Second Team, averaging a career-high 23.4 points to go along with 10.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 71 games while shooting .466 (659-1,415) from the field, .352 (37-105) from three-point range, and .845 (306-362) from the foul line.

In 2014-15, Aldridge recorded 31 games with 20-or-more points and 10-or-more rebounds (third in NBA). He finished the season as one of only three players (DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis) to be ranked in the NBA's Top-10 in both scoring (7th) and rebounding (T-8th). The Texas native led the NBA in field goals made last season (659) and his 39 double-doubles ranked ninth in the NBA.

Aldridge is the only player in the league to average at least 23.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in each of the last two seasons.

Originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the second overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Aldridge was dealt to Portland in a draft-night trade. The nine-year NBA veteran has been named to the All-NBA Team three times (Second Team in 2015, Third Team in 2011 and 2014), earned All-Rookie First Team honors in 2007 and has been selected as an All-Star four times (2012-2015).

In 648 regular season NBA games Aldridge has averaged 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.02 blocks in 35.5 minutes. He departs Portland as the Trail Blazers all-time leader in rebounds (5,434), second in points (12,562) and fourth in games played (648) and blocked shots (658). His 234 double-doubles also rank first all-time in Trail Blazers history.

The 29-year-old has appeared in 34 playoff games, averaging 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.79 blocks and 1.6 assists in 40.4 minutes.

Prior to his NBA career, Aldridge spent two seasons at the University of Texas (2004-06). He was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of The Year and to the All-Big 12 First Team as a sophomore and as a freshman led the country in field goal percentage (.663). In 53 career games with the Longhorns he averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.83 blocks and 1.26 steals, while shooting .597 percent from the field.

Splitter appeared in 52 games for the team, averaging 8.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.8 minutes, while shooting .558 (169-303) from the floor. The center has appeared in 311 career NBA games, averaging 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 19.8 minutes, while shooting .560 (978-1,746) from the field.

The Brazilian native appeared in 65 career playoff games in five seasons with the Spurs, averaging 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 19.2 minutes. San Antonio signed Splitter on July 12, 2010 after originally drafting him with the 28th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Printezis, 6-9/240, currently plays for Olympiacos Piraeus in Greece. Last season, he appeared in 20 games and averaged a career-high 12.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 25.3 minutes.

The Spurs also announced that they have acquired 6-3 guard Ray McCallum from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for a 2016 second round pick.

McCallum started 30 of his 68 appearances with the Kings in 2014-15, averaging 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 21.1 minutes while shooting .438 (206-470) from the field and .306 (34-111) three-point range.

Originally selected by Sacramento in the second round (36th overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft, the former University of Detroit Mercy Titan has appeared in a total of 113 NBA games in his two-year career, averaging 6.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 20.6 minutes.

Tim Duncan re-signs with Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs also announced that they have re-signed star forward Tim Duncan for one last title run. Although terms of the contract were not announced, it has been reported that Duncan gave the team a hometown discount in order to keep the team's nucleus intact and add additional pieces.

Originally drafted by the Spurs as the first overall pick in 1997, Duncan has helped San Antonio reach the playoffs in 18-straight seasons and win five NBA championships. Since selecting Duncan, the Spurs have posted a 1,005-423 regular season record, giving the team a .704 winning percentage, which is the best in all of professional sports over the last 18 years.

The 39-year-old Duncan is coming off of his 15th All-NBA Team selection (tied for most all-time) and his 15th NBA All-Defensive Team honor (most all-time), marking the 15th time he has garnered both honors in the same season, the most in NBA history. The 1998 Rookie of the Year has also been named NBA MVP twice (2002, 2003) and NBA Finals MVP three times (1999, 2003 and 2005).

Last year, Duncan became the only player in NBA history to average 13.0 points and 9.0 rebounds for an entire season at age 38-or-older and was one of just two players in the entire league to average 13.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists (DeMarcus Cousins). The 18-year veteran also became one of two players in NBA history to record at least 25,000 points, 14,000 rebounds and 2,500 blocks in his career (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).

In his NBA career, the 15-time All-Star has appeared in a total of 1,331 games and averaged 19.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.21 blocks in 34.4 minutes. He has shot .506 (10,070-19,893) percent from the floor and .696 (5,804-8,337) from the free throw line.

Duncan is the Spurs all-time NBA leader in total points (25,974), rebounds (14,644), minutes (45,830) and games played (1,331), second in blocked shots (2,942) and third in assists (4,062). In NBA history, Duncan is now fifth all-time in double-doubles (830), sixth in blocks, eighth in rebounding and 14th in scoring.

As the only player in NBA history to play 9,000 career minutes in the playoffs, Duncan now ranks first all-time in postseason blocks (555) and double-doubles (164), third in rebounds (2,811) and fifth in points (5,113). For his career, the Wake Forest graduate has appeared in 241 postseason contests (third all-time) and averaged 21.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 38.0 minutes while shooting .502 (1,953-3,887) from the field.

Along with teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, Duncan is part of the NBA record for most postseason wins by a trio (120). The three teammates have also played the most regular season games together (730) and are second all-time in league history with 539 regular season victories, just one win shy of the NBA record.

By Staff of and news services

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