LAS VEGAS – If the Knicks had any hope of signing LaMarcus Aldridge as a free agent – and he said they did after a recruitment from Carmelo Anthony – it was erased by their commitment to Kristaps Porzingis. Aldridge, among 34 players at Team USA camp at UNLV this week, detailed Tuesday to the Daily News why he canceled his sitdown with Phil Jackson this summer even though he said: “I was excited to meet with them”
“They were saying they wanted me to be more of a center to let their guy develop and I just wasn’t looking to be that,” Aldridge said. “So I was looking to play power forward, and they weren’t really interested.”
By ‘their guy,’ Aldridge was referring to fourth overall pick Porzingis, the 7-foot-3, 19-year-old Latvian slotted for time at power forward. Aldridge, who has played power forward for most of his career, would eat up the minutes at that position and perhaps hinder Porzingis’ development.
“If they’re going to tell me that I have to play center and I don’t want to play center, then of course it’s mutual after that. But before that I was excited to meet with them. I was interested,” Aldridge said. “But they wanted to have their draft pick play and I get it.”
Look, I know that isn’t exactly what he said. But come on, we all know what he meant:
LaMarcus Aldridge is scared of Kristaps Porzingis’s talent.
He knows that Kristaps would be the more dominant NBA big man on the Knicks roster within a few months. Kristaps is just better. Better shooter, better rebounder, better defender, better in the pick-and-pop, better rolling to the rim, better off the bounce. Kristaps is just a better overall player. Lamarcus knows it, I know it, and I think you know it too. You’re all just too afraid to admit it.
At least Lamarcus wasn’t afraid to admit it. He wants to be the featured player on a team, and he knows that won’t be happening in New York with Kristaps Porzingis here.
And you know what, I respect LaMarcus’s self awareness. I respect that he wants to be the featured guy. I respect that he recognized he just wasn’t ready for the New York market, or the pressure of carrying a franchise in the way that Kristaps will.
But I can’t respect that lack of competitiveness. I can’t respect that type of “me first attitude” that LaMarcus has shown in his career decisions. I don’t want those types of players on my team anyway. Rather play with four guys on the court than have a guy like that, pouting that he’s not the best big man on the roster. Can not play with em. Can not win with em. Can not coach with em. Can’t do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win…
…I want Kristaps Porzingis.
(this song isn’t even close to getting old yet.)