The San Antonio Spurs made some noise a day before the start of the 2017-18 NBA season after announcing that they signed power forward LaMarcus Aldridge to a contract extension. The new deal (three-year, $72.3 million) will lock up Aldridge through 2020-21 seasons. More importantly, it prevented the forward from bolting out next summer when he will have the choice to opt out of the final year on his contract.

However, several NBA pundits and Spurs fans question the latest move by the Spurs front office. They don’t agree that Aldridge deserves a contract extension after failing to live up to expectations the past two seasons.

A double-double machine over nine seasons in Portland, Aldridge’s statistical numbers took a nose dive ever since joining the Spurs. During the 2016-17 NBA season, the five-time All-Star averaged 17.3 points on 47 percent field goal shooting with 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 32 minutes of action. The most disappointing part about Aldridge’s tenure with the Spurs is his tendency to fade away in big-time playoff games, leaving all the heavy-lifting to Kawhi Leonard.

What’s the Spurs plan?

Senior NBA writer Zach Lowe of ESPN thinks he knows the reason why the Spurs pulled the trigger on the head-scratching Aldridge extension deal. He believes that Spurs general manager R.C Bufford and Gregg Popovich are betting on Aldridge to achieve his best version of Scottie Pippen to Leonard’s [VIDEO] Michael Jordan.

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"The Spurs are betting this knowable quantity of LaMarcus Aldridge gives them a better chance of winning the title in Kawhi Leonard’s prime, which is right now, Lowe said during his podcast session.

Should Aldridge continue to struggle, Lowe believes the Spurs will have an easier time shopping the veteran [VIDEO] as the new deal makes Aldridge more "tradable." Still, the NBA Insider stressed that the Spurs would give the Aldridge-Leonard pairing another one-year window to click before they consider blowing it up. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed that the Spurs indeed attempted to trade Aldridge prior to the draft and during the summer, but they never received any favorable trade package.

More news out of San Antonio

Ex-San Antonio Spurs big man Tiaggo Splitter wants to pursue a coaching career if he fails to land an NBA contract this season. Splitter, 32, reportedly met with the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz and the Cleveland Cavaliers with the hope of extending his NBA career. However, up to this point, the former NBA champion and Spanish League MVP has remained a free agent. Playing overseas is clearly not an option for Splitter, who admits he’s still not 100 percent after playing through calf and hip injuries last season.

“My plan is to remain involved in basketball. This is a good way to network, meet new people and get to see basketball from a different perspective,” Splitter told Jorge Sierra of Hoopshype.