The San Antonio Spurs are one of the few teams that have a legitimate chance to land Kevin Durant, and signing him would form a dominant Big 3 with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. But how can the Spurs afford to sign him?
San Antonio doesn't have enough pure cap space to sign him, but as we saw last year when they signed Aldridge, the front office has shown a willingness and ability to create the cap space necessary. Here are the steps they need to take to be able to sign Durant:
Renounce cap holds of all free agents
This basically means letting go of all their current free agents, including guys like Manu Ginobili, David West and Boban Marjanovic. Erasing their cap holds generates roughly $9 million in extra cap space to put towards signing Durant, though they could use some of it to re-sign just a few of those players - probably Ginobili and West - to veteran minimum deals.
This may be unnecessary if Duncan decides to retire. He has opted in to his $5.64 million player option for next season, but if he retires, that creates more cap space.
Decline Jonathan Simmons' team option
San Antonio really likes the way Simmons has been developing, but the chance to sign Durant is simply too much for them to pass up. Declining this option frees up slightly less that $1 million in cap space.
Release cap holds of Livio Jean-Charles and Nikola Milutinov
Both former first-round picks have been draft-and-stash players in Europe, and while both are progressing, neither look to contribute to the Spurs anytime soon, and both hold $2 million cap holds. Releasing them creates an easy extra $4 million.
Trade Danny Green and Boris Diaw
This is the move that would most hurt Spurs fans, but moving them creates $17 million in cap space. Any trade would essentially be a salary dump, but it might be a chance to the Spurs to get future assets (draft picks?) in return. A team like the Philadelphia 76ers comes to mind, as they have the second most cap space in the league and desperate need for both backcourt upgrades (Green) and championship experience.
Dealing them for a first-round pick and a second-round pick certainly seems like a distinct possibility, and one that would greatly benefit both teams.
In all, these moves create the $26 million needed to provide the money necessary to sign Durant to a max contract. If Duncan decides to retire, that number bumps up to nearly $32 million. San Antonio would undoubtedly look like a very different team, but creating a Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge would perhaps make the Spurs the title favorites over the Warriors and Cavs.Back to the San Antonio Spurs Newsfeed