Spurs Extend LaMarcus Aldridge
What's the Story?
The San Antonio Spurs have announced they agreed to an extension with LaMarcus Aldridge, on October 16th, 2017. Since Aldridge opted into his contract for next season, valued at $22.3-million, the extension will be for an added 2 years and $50-million. This news comes on the eve of the 2017/2018 season about to kick off, where the Spurs are yet again expected to contend. It appears as though Aldridge will play a major role in doing so.
There was some turmoil surrounding Aldridge and there have been repeated questions about his declining production, which makes this deal something of a surprise. This extension is a particularly risky proposition for the San Antonio Spurs. They are a team who have historically been small-market and generally avoided large contracts like the one afforded to Aldridge.
However, it does show the Spurs are fully committed and invested in Aldridge. It seems as though they are betting on Aldridge stepping up his game this season and in the following seasons in hopes of leading them deeper into the Playoffs. Aldridge has had some sustained success in San Antonio and obviously, the team feels comfortable enough, despite the speculated turmoil, to offer him this type of deal.
The deal makes perfect sense of Aldridge since it gives him a nice payday through the 2020-2021 season. It would make little sense for him to enter the uncertain waters of free agency and risk finding his market bottoming out. He now has extended security in case his production continues to tank and/or he finds himself bitten by the injury bug.
Moving forward, the Spurs would be wise to make the most of their investment in Aldridge. They need to ensure they have the right mix of talent surrounding Aldridge (and Kawhi Leonard) to be able to compete in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Hopefully, the Spurs find a way to lock up their existing stars and remain in contention for a top seed.
That figures to be a tough task as a number of teams in the West have gotten stronger in the off-season while the Spurs treaded water. The last thing both Aldridge and the Spurs would want is for them to come to the tough realization that the status quo is not working and they need to tear it down.