San Antonio Spurs: Could Champs Handle James-Melo Union?

By Erik Lambert

Feb 27, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) and Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) both chat during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors are flying that LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony may join forces in free agency.  If so, how does that impact the San Antonio Spurs repeat bid?

Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James tag team would cost

The first thing that must be addressed regarding a union between two superstars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony is the great x-factor:  money.  There are a number of teams that almost certainly will be willing to shed the required salary in order to gain the space to sign the two of them to max contracts.  The question at hand is whether the team lucky enough to get them can then somehow build a team around them with what limited space will be remaining.  As much success as Miami had doing that, it’s not nearly as easy as it looks.  Cleveland had a hard enough time just building around James as did the Knicks with Anthony.  It will take a quality coach and front office to pull off such a feat despite the obvious benefits of pairing the MVP with a top three NBA scorer.

Spurs would likely still be deeper team after Tim Duncan return

Secondly, how big of a threat would James and Anthony pose to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs?  It’s important to clarify that no matter where James and Anthony team up, it almost automatically will create depth problems.  Meanwhile the Spurs rode the deepest bench in the NBA all season to a resounding five-game trouncing of the Heat.  It doesn’t seem like that is about to change.  Ageless star Tim Duncan has opted back in for another year.  That means all San Antonio really has to do is ensure they secure the services of key role players Boris Diaw and Patty Mills who are pending free agents.  After that it’s just a question of sprinkling more youth and athleticism around their old guard of Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have many reasons to join forces if that is their plan.  However, it will take more than wearing the same jerseys to thwart the well oiled machine of the San Antonio Spurs.