LaMarcus Aldridge has entered the phase of his career where he can longer be patient on waiting to play for a contending team. The Portland Trail Blazers have upgraded their roster under Neil Olshey, but remain a fringe playoff team.
"I'm happy here right now," Aldridge told USA TODAY Sports in an exclusive interview. "I feel like we have a team that can win, that can make noise, and I feel like if we buy in then anything is possible. So I'm happy, and it's still my team and I'm playing well.
"I feel like the team has jelled around me. I feel like coach (Terry Stotts) has trusted me more this year to where I'm getting different opportunities that I didn't get last year, so I think everything is going great right now."
Aldridge has two seasons and $30 million remaining on his deal.
There have been many trade rumors involving Aldridge over the past few months, but the Blazers are not motivated to trade him for anything less than another All-Star in return.
"It's not 'If there's a better deal, then get me out of (Portland) or take that. It's 'We're here. Let's win, and let's try to have the best season that we can.'"
Aldridge is currently averaging 25.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
"The team that we have now is a good balance of old and young, a good balance of hungry and – not satisfied – but hungry and older," said Aldridge. "By 'hungry' I mean (players like) T-Rob (Thomas Robinson), who was a (No. 5) pick and he's trying to prove that he should be here (Robinson was traded to Portland from Houston on July 1)."