Hours after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs are now in the mix of league rumors as word is swirling that they will also join teams who are courting Thunder star Kevin Durant and Memphis Grizzlies Mike Conley this summer.
The Thunder just defeated the Spurs in Game Six of the Western Conference semifinals, 113-99 and Durant tallied a 37-point performance. Durant’s performance sends a strong signal to all teams pursuing him that they have to wait till it is time to court him and with the way he and teammate Russell Westbrook are playing it is just like saying wait in line since the Thunder came in first.
Since last week's piece about the Spurs' free-agent interest in Kevin Durant more than one spy has whispered: They'll court Mike Conley, too
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 13, 2016
The Spurs will have to wait until the Thunder finish their run in the NBA Playoffs as they will next face defending champion Golden State Warriors in the conference finals with Game One set on May 17. The Spurs together with other teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and the Houston Rockets are some of the teams that are hoping to lure Durant to their rosters.
The 27-year old has long stated that he wants teams to wait and be patient until he makes a decision. Durant will explore free agency this summer which created a lot of possibilities for the superstar forward as even Golden State Warriors are also in the mix to get him.
However, speculations are also popping out that if the Thunder makes into the NBA Finals, Durant might decide to stick it out with them. But according to Joel Meyers, a New Orleans Pelicans announcer, claimed and told NewsOk that he had inside info on the former MVP’s possible plans.
“There may be other teams coming into the equation for Kevin Durant. He’s the principle. He’s going to be the guy. So from what I’ve been told, it may not be Golden State after all. Everybody thought it was, like, ‘Well, maybe he can slide in there, and they won’t match whoever makes an offer to Harrison Barnes,” Meyers said.
“So it frees up that cap space that they would have given to Harrison Barnes.’ But the calls I took, and some of the people I talked to over the weekend being in the building, it’s not such a deadlock. As much as we all love Kevin Durant with Russell Westbrook, watch it now, because there’s a real strong possibility it’s their last season together in OKC.”
League insiders are also stating that aside from Durant, the Spurs are also looking at their chances of getting Mike Conley Jr. to join their roster as well. The Spurs are now in the crossroad of their franchise and must take a stand on whether they will have to overhaul their roster that is now aging.
The Bleacher Report stated that Conley is one of the prospects that the Spurs would want to have in their team for next season as Patty Mills will become an unrestricted free agent.
“Conley would give the Spurs a distributor who could get LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard involved in the offense. He can also score when opposing defenses sag off him,” Scott Polacek writes.
Conley signed a five-year $40 million contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, including $40 million guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $8 million. This season, Conley is set to earn a base salary of $9,388,426 and an incentive bonus of $200,000 while his cap hit and dead money is at of $9,588,426.
The future for the Spurs is still uncertain as Gregg Popovich together with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili will talk with the team as to which paths will they take. But one thing is for sure the Spurs will make a run for their future and that involves pursuing Durant and Conley in the picture.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr