LaMarcus Aldridge and Phil Jackson didn't agree on a position, and that's OK

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Earlier this month, we heard conflicting reports about why exactly LaMarcus Aldridge never met with the Knicks during free agency. NBA.com reported the former Portland Trail Blazers big man canceled his meeting with the Knicks because Phil Jackson wanted him to play center, and the New York Post claimed it was Jackson who nixed the sit-down because he knew New York wasn't "in Aldridge's plans."

The truth, as always, lies in the middle. In Aldridge's own words on ESPN Radio's Russillo Show, the Knicks wanted him to "strictly play the five," and he wasn't interested, so they went their separate ways.

“They didn’t want to meet with me,” Aldridge said. “Some people said it was me. But it was both parties agreeing that we shouldn’t meet.”

Within days, Aldridge announced his intention to leave Portland for a max contract from the San Antonio Spurs, and the Knicks agreed to a four-year, $54 million deal with Robin Lopez to man the center spot.

It does seem strange Jackson — the brains behind a 17-win team last season — refused to meet with the best free agent to change jerseys this summer solely over a disagreement about which position he would play. After all, positions are more arbitrary in today's NBA than ever before, and the Knicks don't have the luxury of refusing All-NBA talent. Get him on the roster, and then worry about how he fits into the lineup.

But it's just as weird that Aldridge was so adamant about not playing center. Playing alongside Tim Duncan in San Antonio, it won't matter who's the center and who's the power forward. And Aldridge will undoubtedly be the so-called five in lineups with David West, Boris Diaw and others.

A meeting between Jackson and Aldridge would have given the former an opportunity to explain why he wanted the free agent to play center and offered the latter some insight into how one of the league's best basketball minds would have used him at the five, but alas both sides considered that a waste of time.

In the end, Aldridge made the best choice for his future, as he'll be competing for championships under Gregg Popovich for the next four seasons. As for the Knicks, they too made a sound decision, opting not to break the bank on another 30-year-old All-Star when they're much more than one player away from contending. Instead, Jackson signed a 27-year-old Lopez and guard Arron Afflalo for the same price he would have spent on Aldridge, improving some for next season and maintaining flexibility going forward.

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Ben Rohrbach

is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!