Following an incredible first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, the San Antonio Spurs’ attempt to win back-to-back championships has officially come to an end. Despite a valiant effort against Chris Paul and company, the Spurs will head into an off-season filled with uncertainty.
The Spurs are one of many teams in the league with a roster that could look drastically different next season. Although San Antonio is known for not pursuing big-name free agents, the five-time NBA champions appear to have a great chance of landing Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge this summer.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Spurs may attempt to trade Tiago Splitter in order for more financial flexibility in free agency:
One scenario on the personnel grapevine gaining steam is the notion that the Spurs could elect to explore the possibility of dealing away Tiago Splitter to create more financial flexibility. Splitter has two years left on his contract valued at just under $17 million and is quietly regarded as a key contributor in San Antonio given how well he fits as a frontcourt sidekick next to Duncan. But if you’re the Spurs — and if the increasingly loud rumbles about Aldridge having San Antonio as the preferred destination atop his wish list prove true — examining Splitter’s trade market might suddenly become unavoidable.
As of right now, the teams rumored to be interested in Aldridge include the Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers. Even though the Lakers and Knicks will have the cap space and attractive destinations in terms of location, the two Texas squad appear to have the edge moving forward.
The Spurs will be an intriguing option for Aldridge with arguably the best head coach in the game, Gregg Popovich, intent on returning and the team still a potential title contender next season. San Antonio will have to figured out what the immediate future holds for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, as well as locking up Kawhi Leonard long-term, but they’ll still be in good position regardless to sign Aldridge.[divide]