Could the San Antonio Spurs Go After LeBron James?

By Erik Lambert

Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) stands on the free throw line with Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) during the second quarter in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Normally a team intent on building from within, could the San Antonio Spurs shed that label by luring LeBron James their way?

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker exits might open salary cap door

Before entertaining such a notion, the key to any blockbuster free agent move is the great equalizer:  money.  As long as the Big Three remain in place for the San Antonio Spurs, any hopes of signing James are not feasible.  However, that would change if one or more of the top names retired.  At present the most likely candidate would be Tim Duncan who at 38-years old clinched his fifth championship as a pro.  There is every builtin excuse in the world for him to hang it up.  He certainly doesn’t need the money.  Should he retired it would wipe over $10 million off the salary cap for San Antonio.  Longtime teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are also possible retirement threats.  Both have four championships under their best and Parkers is 32-years old while Ginobili is 37.  If Parker were to bow out he would free up $12.5 million while Ginobili holds $7 million.  Losing any combination of those three would instantly put San Antonio is favorable position for a run at James who would cost the Miami Heat over $20 million in 2014-2015.

James could pursue Michael Jordan with Gregg Popovich

So why should both sides be interested in such a deal?  Well it’s plainly obvious from both ends.  LeBron James is in mad pursuit of Michael Jordan on the NBA titles list but after his latest defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs his window with the aging Miami Heat may be at an end.  By joining the Spurs he would have a chance to continue his run given the presence of young gun Kawhi Leonard and their ability to build a roster around their core as they’ve done with Parker, Duncan and Ginobili for years.  More than anything it would be the opportunity for James to play with Gregg Popovich.  With all due respect to Erik Spoelstra, James has never played for a coach with the caliber of Pop.  The 65-year old would make him a better player, if that’s possible and could in turn take advantage of James’ many talents, particularly his ability facilitate the game.

A union between the San Antonio Spurs and LeBron James sounds unbelieveable and almost impossible after so many years of battling each other for championships.  However, if the timing is right and the money becomes available, the potential match could produce amazing results.