Wednesday 19th June 2019,

Coach Pop Welcomes Aldridge to San Antonio in True Spurs Fashion

LAHi, LaMarcus Aldridge. This is your new coach, Gregg Popovich, speaking. Welcome to the San Antonio Spurs.

Now, sit down and shut up.

Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

The Spurs’ newest championship cog missed a training-cap workout on Tuesday with what San Antonio called “leg tightness.” For the record, it was not his decision. He wanted to participate.

Also for the record: Coach Pop doesn’t give a damn.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio-Express News (h/t ProBasketballTalk) had the details:

LaMarcus Aldridge missed his first workout of training camp today with leg tightness. Or rather, the Spurs — being the Spurs — held him out for precautionary reasons.

“We sat him out,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He didn’t want to do it. I said, ‘Welcome to the Spurs. Go sit.’ ”

Aldridge’s light morning at least kept him fresh to make his debut in the Spurs’ iconic H-E-B commercials, which began filming this afternoon. The Spurs’ most high-profile free agent addition maybe ever, Aldridge remains on pace to make his preseason debut Thursday night in Sacramento.

Well, as long as Aldridge was fresh enough for a commercial shoot, right?

In all seriousness, Aldridge better get used to such precautionary measures. The Spurs don’t take unnecessary chances. They embrace the long view. Minutes are capped. Regular-season appearances are limited. Every decision is made in the context of them surviving the rigors of an 82-tilt schedule and entering the playoffs healthy enough to snare another championship.

And championships are, presumably, why Aldridge bolted from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Spurs can help him win now. Equally important, they can help him win later, as he ages, because they (mostly Pop) are experts at prolonging careers. Ask Tim Duncan. Ask Manu Ginobili. Shoot, ask Danny Green and Boris Diaw, two players whose careers were saved by joining the Spurs.

Having recently turned 30, Aldridge needs to think about the future, about making the most of his twilight, about playing at a high level not just today or tomorrow, but three, four and five years down the line.

These random rest days and bubble-wrap moments may not seem like much, and Aldridge probably won’t feel good about watching certain games from the sidelines, especially if they’re being nationally televised. But, in the long run, everything Popovich and the Spurs do now, however seemingly overprotective, will factor into Aldridge getting what, to this point, he has never had—a real shot at winning a title.

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