The already loaded San Antonio Spurs are reportedly eyeing free-agent-to-be Kevin Durant. While the reigning champion Golden State Warriors have received much attention for their plans to recruit Durant, the Spurs' free-agency strategy has remained, as usual, quiet. But ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting San Antonio is just as interested as the Warriors in landing the 6-foot-11 sniper when free agency opens July 1.
"The Spurs … are said to have harbored similar fantasies for months in their famously stealthy manner," Stein said. "As with Golden State, San Antonio won't have close to max cap room to spend without a willingness to lose multiple members from its Boris Diaw/Danny Green/Patty Mills supporting cast. Yet you'll recall how swiftly the Spurs jettisoned Tiago Splitter last summer when the opportunity arose to sign LaMarcus Aldridge."
San Antonio’s three top players—LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker—are on the books for $52,658,381 million next season, while Durant is projected to make about half that ($26 million) as a max-salary player. The cap is $92 million, which leaves nearly $13 million for the rest of the roster.
There is also a chance Tim Duncan ($5,643,750 salary) and Manu Ginobili ($2,940,630) could retire, and the Spurs would also need to determine what to do with the rest of their role players (Green, Diaw, Mills, and Kyle Anderson, most notably).
The Spurs’ ability to lure Durant could rest on their ability to dispose of the Thunder in their current Western Conference semifinal series. "There is a working assumption among KD’s would-be suitors that a second-round Thunder exit essentially cinches the notion that he’ll indeed walk away and look for the best external situation that positions him to win that elusive first championship," Stein said. "The theory (stress: theory) also holds that OKC success in this round against the 67-win Spurs would be enough, no matter what happens in a presumed Western Conference finals showdown with the Warriors, to convince Durant, at the very least, to sign a new two-year deal with Oklahoma City that contains a player option for Year 2."
Durant's hometown Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics reportedly remain the front runners, but this could be a legitimate possibility. Keep in mind that Durant went to college at the University of Texas and has frequently expressed his respect for the Spurs throughout his career.
At this point, after so much speculation, the only surprise would be if Durant chooses to stay put in OKC.
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