As soon as the Cleveland Cavaliers went down 3-0 and the Golden State Warriors’ third championship in four years become imminent, the speculation began: Where will LeBron James go next?
Based on how poorly the Cavs constructed the team around LeBron at the start of the season, so poorly that they made massive deals at the deadline to restructure the roster, for a playoff push, it seems unlikely that he’ll remain in Cleveland, even though the team can offer him more money than any other.
The Boston Celtics, LA Lakers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and even Golden State Warriors are all in position to offer LeBron max money. They’ve been highly publicized as front-runners to sign him. But the Spurs are also in great position as well.
That’s why, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Gregg Popovich, who LeBron loves, is going to lead the team’s push to sign him as a free agent this offseason.
The Spurs are actually in pretty great position to offer LeBron the maximum amount of money he’s eligible for. While the 76ers, Rockets, and Celtics would all have to maneuver around to create the space to sign him, the Spurs wouldn’t.
LeBron is going to be eligible for around $36 million. The Spurs already have $33 million coming off the books:
Tony Parker - $23 million
Kyle Anderson - $6.4 million
Davis Bertans and Bryan Forbes - $3.5 million
Then there are the player options for Danny Green ($10 million), Rudy Gay ($8.8 million), and Joffrey Lauvergne ($1.6 million), which total more than $20 million.
So the Spurs could potentially have $53 million dollars available to not only sign LeBron James but restructure the contracts of the guys they want to bring back or bring in another free agent to seal the deal with him.
Imagine a starting lineup that included LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Dejounte Murray. Bench players available could include Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, and Pau Gasol.
The quality of that starting lineup plus the depth of the bench (which is what ultimately cost the 76ers, Rockets, and Cavs in the playoffs) could not be matched by any other team making LeBron an offer because of what they’d have to do to create the cap space to sign him.
Like it or not, Spurs fans, San Antonio is going to have a great case to sign arguably the greatest player ever to try and bring a sixth championship to the Alamo City.