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Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge requested trade before season, Gregg Popovich reveals

Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge requested trade before season, Gregg Popovich reveals”

While Popovich is usually known for his crotchety nature towards bad questions and total disregard for sideline interviews, he can sometimes be more revealing about his job than maybe any other head coach in the league.

Apparently Aldridge became the first player in Popovich's tenure to ever request a trade. Asked about Aldridge's resurgence and what prompted it, Popovich replied with unprecedented honesty.

"I said, 'Whoa, nobody's ever said that to me before,"' Popovich recalled upon Aldridge telling him he wanted to play elsewhere, via ESPN.com. But once I said it, he was great about listening, and it was good from there. I'm not confident. I'm not sure you want me here. "I want to be traded, '" Popovich said.

Aldridge has averaged 25.3 points over his last eight games and after Monday's 12 rebounds, he's recorded four double-doubles in his last five games entering Thursday's matchup with the Lakers. In his first two years with San Antonio, he didn't average more than 18 points or 8.5 rebounds per contest.

Aldridge would undergo arguably the worst season of his career a year ago.

Reports surfaced Popovich and Aldridge had a heart-to-heart meeting shortly after LaMarcus struggled in the 2017 playoffs with Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard both out due to injuries.

In addition to the extra usage created from Leonard being off the floor, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich explained the shocking reason for Aldridge's drastic improvement this year ahead of the team's game against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night.

Trading Aldridge might have made sense if the Spurs could get equal value in return, but that wasn't the case.

"I said, 'Whoa, nobody's ever said that to me before, '" said Popovich. I told [Aldridge], 'I'd be happy to trade you. You get me a talent like Kevin Durant and I will drive you to the airport. I'll pack your bags. And I said, 'Short of that I am your best buddy, and you are here for another year and you ain't going nowhere because for you talent-wise, we are not going to get what we want, so let's figure this thing out.

Popovich admits that he was "overcoaching" Aldridge, and changing that has resulted in better numbers for the forward. He was averaging 17.6 points per game, down from the 20.9 he was averaging with Portland between 2008 and 2014 when he was getting consistent minutes.



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