Last time we 'covered' the LaMarcus Aldridge rumors, the news was that Rose's people were actively working to get the Blazers forward to Chicago. To briefly recap, it makes sense: if Aldridge is on an underperforming team in a smaller market, Chicago would be an upgrade for him. For the Blazers, if it gets to the point where their star wants out a trade can make more sense than letting him reach free agency in the summer of 2015.
In this summer of 2013, the Blazers have been active in acquiring talent to supplement Aldridge. While they can't be considered Western Conference contenders they have solidified their place as a team going for a playoff berth. One of those acquisitions was Mo Williams, and Blazers GM Neil Olshey addressed Aldridge at Williams's press conference:
if [Aldridge] had asked to be traded, he would have told people that he asked to be traded. He never asked to be traded.
"The fact that I had breakfast in a hotel lobby with [Arn Tellem], one of my oldest and best friends who I worked with for seven years, who also represents Robin Lopez and Dorell Wright, along with LaMarcus Aldridge, probably doesn't lead to the fact that we're trying to trade LaMarcus Aldridge.
"But, you know, like I said, it's part of the business. LaMarcus understands it. He ignores it. If [Aldridge requesting a trade] was the case, we'd be dealing with it. It's not. He's happy.
"I think what LaMarcus sees now -- like what you just brought up -- there is a plan. And we're executing the plan and we're going to stay disciplined and stay diligent about getting there as quickly as possible without jeopardizing the long-term health of the franchise.
"One thing we have to remember: LaMarcus is only 27. He's been here a long time but he's a young player in our league, in terms of how long his career is going to be. It will all work out really well in the end as long as we all stay on the same path."
(as BlazersEdge continues at that post, earlier this summer Aldridge himself denied making a trade request)
One specific note of interest there is the invocation of Tellem, who is Derrick Rose's agent (or part of the same agency, anyway) and was a rumored party behind this pairing idea in the first place. Olshey mentions his relationship with Tellem, and as one of the league's most powerful agents he likely has similar ones with a lot of NBA figures, including Jerry Reinsdorf.
The mention of Tellem's other clients getting deals reminded me of something Bill Simmons discussed a couple of weeks ago:
To the great Arn Tellem, who orchestrated that ludicrous Tyreke contract AND got two more of his clients (Vasquez and Robin Lopez) traded to more favorable situations. How? He reps Anthony Davis, that's how.
That's been an underrated subplot lately: Teams buttering up power agents by overpaying their fringe clients as down payments for future extensions with the ones they really want. Just call them "down-payment contracts." An even better example: Dan Fegan represents Martell Webster (mysteriously signed by the Wizards for a comically high $22 million) and John Wall (about to sign an $80 million extension with, yup, the Wizards).
Olshey takes this from a 'subplot' to the forefront when mentioning that Tellem represents 2 recent team acquisitions in Lopez and Dorell Wright.
It's nothing particularly shady, just interesting, as the Blazers actual best chance of keeping Aldridge is not this kind of 'buttering up' but being a better team. From their standpoint it matters more that Lopez, Wright, Williams, Thomas Robinson, plus recent draftees CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe help the Blazers front-line players in ways last years awful bench had failed.
And from our standpoint we want the Blazers to suck. Winning really does matter when it comes to a star's desire to move: I doubt the Orlando Magic are that happy they have Dwight Howard's pal Big Baby Davis in the fold given that Howard himself left. If Aldridge is legitimately happy now, or if his agent has used that power to get his other clients some deals, it won't make a difference if the Blazers season isn't going well and Chicago keeps looking like a better option for them to both get Aldridge to a contender and crank up their own rebuilding process.