The fun thing about the start of free agency is the speculation it brings, and the San Antonio Spurs look to be major players this offseason as they try to improve their roster.
With the Oklahoma City Thunder’s shocking loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals after leading the series 3-1, Kevin Durant seems far more likely to leave as a free agent. It’s way easier for him to walk away from a team that may not have the ability to ever win a championship.
The San Antonio Spurs are an elite team even without Durant. Imagine what the team would be like with a player like Durant being added to a squad that just won 67 regular season games.
Durant’s availability makes the hypothetical trade with the Philadelphia 76ers for Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel seem obsolete.
The logic was that either Okafor or Noel would come to San Antonio to play center alongside Aldridge at power forward. Philadelphia would receive some combination of Tony Parker, Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Boris Diaw and have the cap space to take on those excess contracts they receive from San Antonio.
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Of course, Philadelphia would most likely get offered a better package than that by another team, but this is all a hypothetical fantasy where Philadelphia really values veteran leadership (which in fairness is partly what they’re claiming to be seeking).
Green might be the best defender at shooting guard in the NBA, and he was an elite 3-point shooter before last season. No team would discount his value.
With Durant suddenly much more available, they don’t even have to focus on Philadelphia, though.
To best be in a position to afford Durant, guys like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Boban Marjanovic, Andre Miller, Kevin Martin, and Matt Bonner will have to leave. For a talent like Durant, that’s a small price to pay.
Durant would play power forward in the Spurs’ new starting lineup with Aldridge shifting to center. Leonard is the small forward, Green stays at shooting guard, and Parker remains at point guard. That’s a terrific starting lineup.
Durant would likely consume all of the Spurs’ resources to spend on free agents, but he’s well worth it. He’s a top 5 player in this league, and the Spurs should devote their offseason to trying to lure him to San Antonio.