Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge admits he didn’t handle relationship with Blazers’ Damian Lillard well enough
After four long years, the relationship between former teammates LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard is taking major steps towards reconciliation. The former left the Portland Trail Blazers back in 2014 due to frustrations with his role with the team, which seem to have changed when the latter arrived.
However, both Aldridge, now with the San Antonio Spurs, and Lillard seem to have moved on. Before they teamed up in the All-Star Game, they both admitted that they had something to do with their break-up in Portland.
In an interview with Jason Quick of The Athletic, Aldridge said that he didn’t handle the situation the way he would’ve wanted to.
“Being a vet, I didn’t handle him coming in well. I didn’t want to make him think I was stifling his growth, or have a mindset that I was hating on him, so I didn’t say anything to him. That was the wrong approach, because he told me he would have liked guidance and a big brother.”
Aldridge felt that his role diminished after Lillard was drafted by the Blazers, which led to his eventual departure from the team. Dame said he wasn’t trying to be the star on the team, but that he didn’t know how to say it to the 33 year-old forward.
“I wanted him to know that I’m not trying to be The Guy. Put it like this: I never want people to think I’m not genuine. So if I go to him and say, ‘Man, I’m not trying to be this, you are The Guy, you the leader, I’m not trying to step on your toes’ … then at the end of the game, I’m walking in the huddle saying, ‘Give me the ball.’
“I didn’t know how to explain to him and say, ‘This is not me saying I’m better than you, or this is my team’ … this is me being as complementary to you as possible. So, how do I have that type of mindset and attitude and also be in his face saying, ‘I’m not trying to be The Guy …’? Would he truly understand it? It was tough for me. So that’s why I didn’t say nothing.”
Now that things seem to be moving towards the right direction between these two, things could become really interesting over the next few years, as Aldridge has also indicated that he plans to return and finish his career with the Blazers.
A reunion seems more likely to happen now.