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LaMarcus Aldridge says meetings with Gregg Popovich went like coach’s in-game interviews

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three

NBAE/Getty Images

Gregg Popovich really wanted LaMarcus Aldridge on the Spurs — he flew back out to Los Angeles for a second interview, a lunch with the big man. I’d say “he never does that,” but he obviously will for the right big man. It worked, Aldridge signed with the Spurs.

So what was it like to sit and talk with Popovich?

Pretty much like his television interviews, Aldridge told Marc Stein of ESPN in a SportsCenter interview, as transcribed by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News (hat tip Eye on Basketball):

Popovich is who he is. There are moments, days when he feels more like opening up, or gets on thoughtful discussions of his interests outside basketball (wine the best known among them), but he’s not Doc Rivers.

Stein also asked Aldridge about leaving Portland and his comments last year that he wanted to be the “best Blazer ever.” Aldridge said that was not some PR line (hat tip to Blazersedge for the transcription).

It was tough. I did want to be the best Blazer ever. It wasn’t some hoax or me just trying to, you know, sweet-talk the city. I did. But I felt like they were kind of in that middle role where they kind of wanted to make a change, kind of go a different direction. You know they definitely told me that they wanted me back, but kind of I felt like we both were kind of in that limbo. They wanted to go young. Damian is a great talent. He’s going to be an All-Star for many years to come.

It sounds like Aldridge had an idea he was moving on for a while, even while saying all the right things about the Blazers.