He spent nine seasons with the team in which he was named an All-Star nod four times.
This big three became one of the biggest what ifs in all of NBA history.
They hardly saw the floor together due to injuries, however, when they did play together, they were truly dominant.
The Trail Blazers went 50-12 in the 62 games that LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, and Greg Oden played together. 😔
How good would Portland have been if their stars stayed healthy? pic.twitter.com/iXfrsCBp42
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 15, 2021
For a time, Aldridge was the franchise centerpiece for the Trail Blazers before the emergence of Damian Lillard.
If he had stuck around in Portland, there is a chance that the Blazers could have eventually been something great with a big three of Lillard, Aldridge, and CJ McCollum.
However, after his ninth season with the Trail Blazers, Aldridge decided that enough was enough and he needed a change of scenery.
He moved on to join the San Antonio Spurs.
A move that made a lot of sense to the general public, however, left many within the Blazers organization scratching their heads and questioning the validity of Aldridge’s publicly stated motivators for leaving.
There were two major reasons stated publicly as to why Aldridge left the Trail Blazers for the Spurs.
To Be The Next Face Of The Franchise
The first reason as to why he left the Blazers is that he wanted to be the face of the franchise in San Antonio.
It was clear to see that during this time, Tim Duncan was on his last legs in the league and the Spurs would be looking for someone to fill his role.
This was the perfect situation for Aldridge to step in.
Along with this, Lillard was emerging as the face of the franchise in Portland shortly before Aldridge chose to part ways with the franchise.
Skeptics of this questioned if this is truly a valid reason to leave Portland.
While Duncan was retiring soon and it left a big hole in the center position for the Spurs, Aldridge was still not going to be the face of the franchise.
The reason for this being that Kawhi Leonard was still on the roster.
Around this time, Leonard was emerging as one of the best young players and arguably the best defender in the entire league.
It was clear that the keys to the franchise would be going to him after Duncan retired.
Despite this, Aldridge was able to show what he could do as the main guy in San Antonio.
In a closeout game against the Houston Rockets, Aldridge and the Spurs were able to knock off the Rockets without Leonard on the court.
4 YEARS AGO TODAY
The Kawhi-less Spurs eliminated the Rockets with a 39-point GM 6 win!
LaMarcus Aldridge had a game-high 34 PTS.
Harden, Gordon & Lou Williams combined to score 24 PTS pic.twitter.com/HdcwzpMEjD
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 11, 2021
Spurs Were A Better Run Organization
The second and more irrefutable reason that Aldridge left the team is that the Spurs were a better run organization.
San Antonio was only one year removed from their Finals victory against the Miami Heat when Aldridge signed with them.
It would not be a stretch for him to think that with him on the team along with Leonard emerging as a superstar that they would be able to compete for a ring.
This is something that would not be achievable in Portland.
Along with this, from the perspective of personal growth as a player, after seeing what head coach Gregg Popovich did with Tim Duncan, it would have been very difficult for Aldridge to turn down an offer to be coached by him.