In the letter, which was first sent to The Oregonian’s John Canzano, Aldridge wrote:
"Dear Rip City, Thank you!
"Those two words on a page don't begin to express the gratitude I have for the opportunity the entire Trail Blazers organization, my teammates, the media, and you fans gave me. The past nine years have been a blessing, and I will take all of the valuable memories with me as I head back home.
"As I'm sure you can respect, my decision was a very personal one but not one I took lightly. Although I will be wearing a different uniform the next time I come back to Portland, please know that I will always hold my time in a Blazers uniform near and dear to my heart.
"Your friend, LA"
Aldridge, who turns 30 in two weeks, will reportedly sign a four-year, $80 million maximum contract with San Antonio. The fourth year will contain a player option.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Alridge told the Trail Blazers on Friday night that he had narrowed his list of possible suitors to the Spurs and Phoenix Suns. Trail Blazers assistant coach Kim Hughes also said earlier in the week that the team had already lost Aldridge; Hughes was reportedly fired after his comments went viral.
Aldridge was a four-time All-Star with the Trail Blazers, making the All-NBA Second Team in 2015 and the All-NBA Third Team in 2011 and 2014. Over his nine seasons, he averaged 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.0 block per game.
The Trail Blazers acquired Aldridge in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, who drafted Aldridge with the second pick in the 2006 NBA draft. In return, Portland sent their draft pick (forward Tyrus Thomas) and forward Victor Khryapa.
- Mike Fiammetta