David West and LaMarcus Aldridge: Sorry!!

The San Antonio Spurs will head home from the playoffs with a number of questions to answer as their offseason begins.  What will Tim Duncan decide to do with his future.  He has played almost 20 seasons and an observer can tell that Father Time is starting to wear on this future Hall of Famer.  Manu Ginobili looks like he is running on half empty right now.  They are both in their late thirties and need to make post career decisions.

Tim Duncan said that he didn't want to have a retirement farewell tour like Kobe Bryant.  Kobe ended his career with a 60 point game in a win.  The Lakers played horribly all year and I guess they can now develop the younger players like Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell.  In fact, Tim Duncan is so quiet and reserved that he would probably have a low key retirement ceremony in San Antonio.  I cannot remember what the team did for the Admiral, David Robinson.  Both of those players bought championships and respect to San Antonio. 

David West and LaMarcus Aldridge both looked to add to the illustrious history of the Spurs.  I liked David West when he was a rugged, hard nosed forward for the Indiana Pacers.  When he was there, their nemesis was the Miami Heat with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  They had scintillating playoff games.  Paul George raised his game to Superstar level and they almost overcame the Heat.  Almost is never good enough in sports terms though.  David West must have felt the sting of defeat in a major way.  He took about an $8 million pay cut to leave Indiana for the Spurs.  He felt that his best chance for a Championship was in the heart of Texas.  Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had the final say in the 2016 playoffs on this decision.

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LaMarcus Aldridge was an emerging force in Portland.  Combined with Damian Lillard, these two young players were forming a tandem that could have been a force for years.  LaMarcus felt that he couldn't win the big game in Portland.  I have had a chip on my shoulder with the Trailblazers ever since Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas and Lionel Hollins whipped us for the NBA championship.  These players worked within a system to win the championship.  Free agency doesn't always guarantee wins.  LaMarcus was stellar in some games for the Spurs.  His move to Texas was met with the same disappointment that he felt in Rip City.

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Kevin Durant is facing the same free agent decision this year.  Scott Brooks couldn't get them over the proverbial hump while he coached the team.  They faced the Spurs, who had won 67 games this year, and just ran right by them when it counted.  Many teams are salivating over the prospect of Kevin Durant playing in their city next year.  I hope that he stays in OKC and uses his singular skills to attract other free agents to come win a ring with him.  As in the case of West and Aldridge, the grass is definitely not greener on the other side of the fence.  I wonder if they missed playing for the teams that they left in search of championships?  They are both home watching now as the Warriors try to defend their NBA Supremacy.

The Cavaliers seem like a well oiled machine as they await the winner of the Raptors versus Heat.  Dwyane Wade has turned up his game to another level.  He does have three rings to show for his grit and determination.  I am riding with the Raptors only because that have never been to an Eastern conference finals.  I also like Kyle Lowry as a scrappy Philly guard representing on the big stage.  The Conference finals and Championship should provide excellent entertainment for NBA fans throughout the world.  It might also provide pause for those players who feel like they can walk into a somewhat perfect situation and get that elusive ring!!  Happy Sunday. 

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