- LeBron James can become a free agent on July 1.
- The San Antonio Spurs are among the rumored potential landing spots for James.
- Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who James thinks highly of, could reportedly get involved in the recruitment of James.
In three weeks, LeBron James will hit the free agent market with no certainty of where he’ll land.
Among the rumored destinations has been the San Antonio Spurs, a team that checks several of the boxes when guessing what James would like: a strong culture, championship potential, surrounding talent, and a head coach he admires.
Indeed, James has not made it a secret that he admires Gregg Popovich, even once stating that he would love to one day play for Popovich.
This summer could present that opportunity, and according to The New York Times’ Marc Stein, Popovich may get involved in the recruitment of James.
“I’ve also been advised that the ever-persuasive San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is bound to try to force his way into the conversation to sell James on the merits of South Texas,” Stein wrote.
James going to the Spurs isn’t quite as easy as merely choosing them. The Spurs don’t have cap space and would likely have to trade big-salary players like Pau Gasol (due $16 million in 2018-19) and Patty Mills (due $11.5 million in ’18-19).
Much of it would surely depend on the lingering Kawhi Leonard situation, too. The Spurs are reportedly determined to keep Leonard after going through a falling-out with the star forward during the season. But if Leonard requests a trade, it could throw a wrench into getting James, who would surely want to play alongside Leonard.
The majors “ifs” surrounding the Spurs represent one of the great quandaries of the offseason – there’s no perfect fit for James. Teams with salary cap space might not be the best basketball fit, and teams that would be a good basketball fit for James have several hurdles to go over to landing him.