Pat Riley received a meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge last July during free agency, but the Miami Heat didn't have the necessary cap space to sign him.
Riley's wish was for Aldridge to sign a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers and sign with the Heat in 2016.
Riley's words actually went a long way toward validating the San Antonio Spurs' case instead of the Phoenix Suns.
“He told me, ‘You’re a good player, but you can be great,’” Aldridge told Yahoo. “I’ve had good seasons on my own, but to win, you’ve got to have other big-time guys with you. When you have other guys who are willing to take that sacrifice with you – maybe you all go from averaging 23-24 points to 18-19 points – and you can all do it together.
“He was saying, ‘Hey, you might have to take a lesser role, but at the end of the day, you want to be known as a champion. Champions have to do different things.’ He brought up Chris Bosh, how he was averaging 21 in Toronto, and came to Miami, and people tried to say he wasn’t important. He told me, ‘We don’t win any of those championships rings without him,’ [and] that [Bosh] wouldn’t trade those rings for anything.
“Eventually, it becomes a road in your career, whether you have to decide whether you want to keep having these crazy stats, or do you want to win a championship?”
The Spurs soon closed the deal with Aldridge after the Riley meeting.
“Yeah, the things [Riley] said were definitely more positive for me coming to San Antonio,” Aldridge said.