LaMarcus Aldridge was well on his way to being the franchise player for the Portland Trail Blazers before he left the franchise over being unhappy with the overall direction of the team.
Aldridge packed his bags and headed to San Antonio, where he has been as solid as any power forward in the league, and will be making his seventh All-Star appearance this weekend.
For Aldridge it's also been about growing up and learning, as there was plenty of time for bitter feelings about the fans of Portland along with teammates, specifically Damian Lillard, who now truly is the franchise player with the Trail Blazers.
It took a long time for Lillard and Aldridge to come to peace and see eye-to-eye on matters, be here nearly four years later it sounds like the pair have made up and can now be friends again after the breakup of the team in Portland four years ago.
The Athletic’s Jabari Young reports that now at 33 years old, Aldridge has learned the error of his ways, and has forgiven and put away the feelings toward the Blazers and Lillard.
“We’ve fixed our relationship,” Aldridge stated. “It wasn’t us. It wasn’t us having an issue with each other. It was the people around us generating things that wasn’t there.
"So, it’s harder to see when you’re in it, but I think now that we’re both on the outside looking back at it — we had that talk and it definitely made it better.
“It’s funny (when you’re) older, you grow up and see things differently, I think I understand Dame’s view more. I think he understands my view. I think we just hashed it out. It wasn’t an argument. We just talked it out.”
Lillard, who in 55 games for the Blazers his season, is putting up 26.3 points per game at the point guard position, says that he felt there was a communication gap between he and Aldridge, leading to some of the bad blood that now has finally been put in the past.
“We both apologized,” Lillard told Young.
“I think it was a lot of miscommunication from everybody but us. People were saying, ‘I heard LA didn’t like Dame because of this. And I heard Dame said this.’ We got on the phone and I was like, ‘Man look, I came to Portland looking at you like you’re LaMarcus Aldridge. I was trying to be the best compliment to you. I wasn’t in competition with you. I wasn’t jealous of you. I wasn’t trying to be nothing but (supportive).
"I felt like I was the point guard coming to Portland to help you out. I didn’t look at it like I’m taking over the situation.’
In 58 games with the Spurs, Aldridge is averaging 21 points per night and still playing at a very high level for being a 13-year vet in the league.
It's always good to hear stories of reconciliation between former teammates, and for Aldridge and Lillard, it shows that you can find common ground despite what's happened in the past.