The NBA’s next superteam may already be in the works.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Chris Paul is giving “serious consideration” to signing with the San Antonio Spurs this summer when he becomes a free agent.
Stein had previously reported that the Spurs intended exploring signing Paul and now reports that they are expected to get a meeting with Paul this summer.
Paul has a financial incentive to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he is reportedly intrigued by the potential of competing for a championship with the Spurs, particular after the continual postseason disappointments with the Clippers.
While the idea is wildly intriguing – Paul, perhaps the NBA’s most natural point guard, joining forces with Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard to challenge the Golden State Warriors – there are some huge hurdles. The most basic of them: the Spurs payroll.
The Spurs already have $95 million in payroll next season, including Pau Gasol’s $16 million player option, which many expect to him to take. That number doesn’t include a possible salary for Manu Ginobili, who is weighing retirement, or the free agencies of Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons, two important contributors.
The Spurs would need to clear cap space to sign Paul, meaning they’d have to explore trading some big players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Gasol, Tony Parker, or Danny Green. As Stein notes, to sign Paul, the Spurs would have to sacrifice “considerable depth.” And, by trading away several players, they would have limited means to replace them.
The Spurs are as good as any team at drafting or picking players from the scrap heap and turning them into valuable players. But it’s worth wondering if adding Paul at the expense of other starters pushes the Spurs that much closer to competing for a championship.
Still, the noise appears to be real, and if both sides want it to happen, there’s a real chance that Paul could be forming a new superteam in San Antonio.