After selecting D’Angelo Russell at the 2015 NBA Draft, there was optimism the Los Angeles Lakers could sign an All-Star big in LaMarcus Aldridge. Unfortunately, after two meetings, Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs and the Lakers traded for Roy Hibbert.
In an exclusive interview with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Aldridge discussed his meetings with the Lakers. While Aldridge confirmed reports of the first meeting not going well, he shared Kobe Bryant was not an issue at all and was very positive:
I’m not going to get into details, but it was just a couple of meetings. The first meeting didn’t go as well as they said and then the second meeting went better. I’ll go on the record as saying Kobe was not an issue at all. He was a very positive part of the meeting. I’ve always had a very cordial relationship with Kobe. I see him all the time in Newport [Beach], and it was really messed up that [the media] put it on him when he was one of the best parts of the meeting. But like I said, the first one didn’t go as well, the second one went a little bit, but at the end of the day going back home was more valuable
At this stage of his career, Aldridge is looking to win a championship and the Spurs provide him with an immediate opportunity in the difficult Western Conference. While the Lakers have a nice young core of Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, they are still in the early stages of their rebuild.
The young core has shown their potential during preseason and the priority this upcoming season is their development. Should they develop at a nice pace, it will encourage upcoming free agents to consider the Lakers as they will have ample cap space in the off-season.