Not every team will pursue Kevin Durant next summer.
Of course, if Durant signals his desire to join a team, it will move heaven and earth to get him. But plenty of teams will determine they lack the cachet and cap space to realistically land Durant, and they won’t bother.
In which camp do the Spurs – who have a star small forward in Kawhi Leonard and more than $80 million in committed salary for next season – land?
San Antonio has rebuilt its dynasty, but rival executives believe the Spurs will explore ways of adding Durant to the mix, and the franchise’s culture makes it intriguing.
Durant played college basketball at Texas, and the Spurs are a model organization. There’s reason to believe he’d select San Antonio.
The Spurs have only so much financial wiggle room, though.
The salary cap projected to be about $90 million, and Durant’s max expected to start at about $25 million. Can San Antonio trim its payroll to about $65 million?
LaMarcus Aldridge, Leonard and Tony Parker will make a combined $52,658,381 million next season. Perhaps, the Spurs move Danny Green ($10 million) and Boris Diaw ($7 million, $3 million guaranteed). The biggest wildcards are Tim Duncan ($5,643,750) and Manu Ginobili ( $2,940,630). The have player options and could seek raises after taking discounts to accommodate Aldridge, or they could just retire.
Fitting Leonard and Durant won’t be seamless, but the natural small forwards are talented and versatile enough to share forward responsibilities. Aldridge could play more center, especially if Duncan retires. Though Aldridge has made his distaste for playing center known, he might sacrifice for Durant.
Getting Durant to San Antonio will be difficult. Integrating him into lineup won’t be easy, either.
But, after Aldridge, don’t rule out the Spurs for Durant.