The Kevin Durant free agency rumors have been hounding the Oklahoma City Thunder star since the news of his impending release from the Russell Westbrook team surfaced. With this information came reports pointing to the interests of various basketball teams in signing the 2014 MVP. Despite keeping mum on his free agency future, Durant is still surrounded by possible landing spots in the NBA.
The list includes the Golden State Warriors, in which the addition Durant would make a super team out of the Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green lineup. The Los Angeles Lakers also reportedly expressed interest in the Oklahoma City Thunder star with Kobe Bryant looking into Durant as the potential mentor for D'Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr and Jordan Clarkson. Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets are looking into James Harden and his friendship with the Oklahoma star as possible advantages. Even Carmelo Anthony has joined the group of hopefuls as he helps the New York Knicks in its bid for Durant's contract.
However, it looks like the San Antonio Spurs are considered as the one with the most potential in luring out Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder. With a stable roster of players featuring Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green as well as a winning culture cultivated by Gregg Popovich, the Manu Ginobili squad is eyed as a good fit for Durant - an NBA veteran seeking to win a championship in the purported final years of his basketball career. Although the lineup looks promising, there remains a pressing matter to address: how much can the San Antonio Spurs sacrifice to sign Kevin Durant?
According to Sam Quinn of The Sports Post, signing Durant would mean quite a number of cuts for the San Antonio Spurs. The report reveals that only eight of the current members of its roster could stay if the NBA team aims to give Durant a maximum contract. These include the future Big Three of the team, namely, Green, Leonard and Aldridge. Patty Mills and David West are also expected to remain with the team along with Kyle Anderson and Jonathan Simmons. However, it looks like the trio of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker will take the biggest blow if the San Antonio Spurs truly attempt to shift contracts to sign Durant.
"All told, this is the most expensive construction of their roster the Spurs can keep while clearing out enough space to offer Durant his maximum salary," noted Quinn. He added, "There are slightly altered constructions here that depend on multiple variables. They could save money by convincing Duncan and/or Manu Ginóbili to return at pay cuts totaling less than $5.5 million. They could let Duncan and Ginóbili retire and dump West-who is on a player option, but could theoretically decline it and re-sign for the minimum later-in order to keep Boris Diaw. But this is the most likely roster the Spurs would keep around Durant."
While Duncan and Ginobili are expected to receive lower pay to adjust to the cap space issues, the most difficult change would lie in Parker's future. Quinn pointed out that the French man will have to be traded to create bigger space for the huge salary package to be offered to Durant. Although this move will be quite a change for the San Antonio Spurs, Parker's age provides him an advantage over Duncan and Ginobili.
"Both Parker and Diaw have won championships for the Spurs and are major parts of their team culture. In fact, trading either might hurt them from a recruiting standpoint, as continuity is one of their major selling points," shared Quinn. He continued, "But Parker is probably the easiest of the holy Duncan-Ginóbili-Parker trinity to trade. He's been mentioned in trade rumors before, and as the youngest of the three he's the most likely to have a few years to craft a satisfying final chapter for his career. He may not be the player he once was, but there's certainly a market for him."
What do you think? Will it be worth it to disband Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker for the chance to play with Kevin Durant? Will the San Antonio Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors with the Oklahoma City Thunder star playing alongside Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green?