Suns GM Ryan McDonough says ‘we were close’ to signing LaMarcus Aldridge
The Phoenix Suns were close in their pursuit of signing LaMarcus Aldridge, the All-Star forward who eventually signed with the San Antonio Spurs.
As the saying goes, being close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told Bickley & Marotta of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM just how close he was to nabbing the Suns’ biggest free agent signing since Steve Nash came over from the Dallas Mavericks 11 years ago.
“We knew we were close,” McDonough said. “I believe those reports were true and we were in the final two.
“It is tough to finish and get the silver medal when you are speaking of an elite player like LaMarcus Aldridge.”
The former Portland Trail Blazer ultimately decided to go to the Spurs, a team with championship pedigree and to a city where he has family.
It was considered a major surprise that the Suns made it as far as they did in the process, and would have been an even bigger surprise had Aldridge spurned the Spurs for the Suns.
“One of the things that stood out during the process was the regard he holds this organization in and the respect the Phoenix Suns have throughout the league,” McDonough said. “I know we went through some tough times last season, but it is great to see an elite player have us in his final two and being close to coming here.
“That gave us great confidence that we are on the right track.”
Bringing in veteran center Tyson Chandler is a move that further proves McDonough’s point that the Suns are going down the right track.
Chandler was a big part of helping the Dallas Mavericks knock off LeBron James and the Miami Heat for the NBA title in 2011, and is one of the more respected players in the game.
In fact, the 7-foot-1 center told Burns & Gambo of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that he felt his presence helped put the Suns in the running for the All-Star forward.
“I do, because I know if it was vice versa it would’ve been the same,” Chandler said. “His presence would have spoke volumes to me and I know the combination would be great.
“He has always been somebody I respected and we had great battles throughout our career. I do think it was a huge selling point for him that made him sit back and analyze the situation.”
Even though Aldridge did not choose Phoenix, Chandler does not question his decision.
“I honestly think we came in second place,” Chandler said. “We presented a great opportunity for him and the pieces to the puzzle were there for him and I felt like me and him together would have been a neat dynamic.
“For him, he made the right decision and you could never question the family aspect of him going closer to home. As an athlete we never question that, but we had a good run at him.”