The San Antonio Spurs lured highly prized free agent LaMarcus Aldridge to sign during the summer, but Miami Heat president Pat Riley indirectly played a role in the decision.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Riley tried to bring the power forward to South Florida by explaining he needs a stronger supporting cast to win championships.
“He told me, ‘You’re a good player, but you can be great. ‘I’ve had good seasons on my own, but to win, you’ve got to have other big-time guys with you. When you have other guys who are willing to take that sacrifice with you – maybe you all go from averaging 23-24 points to 18-19 points – and you can all do it together.”
Woj notes Riley wanted Aldridge to sign a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers before coming to the Heat, who didn’t have the cap space available to offer a max contract. Aldridge didn’t like that offer, but Riley’s words helped endear him to San Antonio.
Aldridge could be like Chris Bosh, who Riley said wouldn’t trade his two championship rings for anything. Bosh sacrificed his place as the No. 1 guy with the Toronto Raptors, joined the Heat as a tertiary option and appeared in four NBA Finals, winning twice.
The Spurs last won a title in 2014, beating Miami in five games despite not having the starpower the Heat boasted. Aldridge could step into San Antonio and be a top-two contributor alongside Kawhi Leonard.
While there’s no guarantee Aldridge will earn the jewelry with the Spurs, there’s no denying he has a better chance than what he would’ve had in Portland.
If San Antonio brings home the Larry O’Brien trophy, the team can give a hat-tip to Riley for indirectly sending a critical piece to the Spurs.