The Warriors are reportedly planning a big push to sign Kevin Durant in free agency.
They’re not the only capped-out contender on that track.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
The Spurs, though, are said to have harbored similar fantasies for months in their famously stealthy manner.
The stately Spurs, league sources say, are just as intrigued as Golden State by the thought of making a run at Durant come July 1.
Every team wants to sign Durant. Not every team will try to sign Durant. Some teams without the cap space or perceived interest from Durant won’t put in the effort – unless Durant throws a nod in their direction first. They just don’t want to waste time and miss out on other free agents in the process.
The Spurs had been the type of team to ignore high-stakes free agency, but that changed with LaMarcus Aldridge last year. Word for a while had been they’d also chase chase Durant.
San Antonio can sell a winning culture, a roster that’s already contending for a title and proximity to Durant’s college (Texas). But creating the necessary cap room will be challenging.
Durant’s max salary projects to be about $26 million next season against a $92 million cap, so the Spurs would need to trim their payroll to about $66 million.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker will make a combined $52,658,381 million. San Antonio would have to decide what to do with Danny Green ($10 million) and Boris Diaw ($7 million, $3 million guaranteed). So much is up in the air with Tim Duncan ($5,643,750) and Manu Ginobili ( $2,940,630), who both have player options and could retire. Patty Mills ($3,578,948) and Kyle Anderson ($1,192,080) also have guaranteed salaries to account for.
But there is a path, and the Spurs seem intent on trying to travel it.
The upside is just too darn high. Durant would put the Spurs on at least on equal footing with elite Golden State – maybe even higher.
Likewise, the downside is huge. If Durant signs with the Warriors, how will San Antonio ever beat them?
Better for the Spurs just to get Durant for themselves – if they can.