San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich says that forward LaMarcus Aldridge requested a trade this summer.
Popovich was asked what has led to Aldridge playing better this season, he replied. "When he said, 'I want to be traded.'"
"It's as simple as that," Popovich said. "I said, 'Whoa, nobody's ever said that to me before.' It's my 20-whatever year, and nobody's ever said that like, 'I'm not enjoying this. I'm not confident. I'm not sure you want me here. I want to be traded.'"
Popovich and Aldridge met many times over the summer to hash out any issues.
Aldridge was looked at more closely after he failed to step up in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors after star Kawhi Leonard got hurt in Game 1 of that series.
The Warriors ended up sweeping the Spurs in route to their second championship in the last three seasons.
"As discussions went on, it became apparent to me that it really was me," Popovich said. "He'd been playing in the league for nine years. I'm not going to turn him into some other player. I could do some things defensively or reboundingwise. But on offense, I was going to move him everywhere. That was just silly on my part -- total overcoaching. So, we took care of it, and he's been fantastic."
Aldridge reported agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $72.3 million before the season.
The 32–year-old Aldridge is averaging 22.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 41 games.