Talks with LaMarcus Aldridge take a turn for the better

Jason Quick, The Oregonian

With an Oct. 31 deadline nearing, general manager Kevin Pritchard said Wednesday the Trail Blazers and star forward LaMarcus Aldridge are "moving toward a deal" in which Aldridge would be a Blazer long term.After negotiating since July 1, Pritchard said talks with Aldridge’s agent, Arn Tellem, took a decided turn for the better this week.

"There has been movement," Pritchard said. "But I don’t want to get the cart before the horse because I want to do this right. I want to make sure we are staying on the right path. But I feel like we are moving toward a deal. Now that doesn’t mean we are going to get a deal done. Negotiations ebb and flow all the time, so I want to be cautious with that. But I’m optimistic, I really am."

Earlier in the day, at the team’s shootaround, Aldridge also expressed optimism.

"Arn told me they have been talking every day, and there has been progress, that communication has picked up a lot," Aldridge said. "So that’s a good thing that they are talking more. He said things were going better."

Details of the negotiations are unknown.

Aldridge, 24, is in the last year of his four-year rookie contract, and is eligible for a one- to five-year extension. If a deal isn’t struck by midnight on Halloween, Aldridge would become a restricted free agent July 1. He could then field offers from other teams, but the Blazers would have the right to match any offer.

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