The San Antonio Spurs are confident they can get either Chris Paul or Stephen Curry in free agency next year, per several league sources.
Tim Duncan’s retirement has propelled the Spurs to start thinking of a new Big 3.
Manu Ginobili, 39, is likely to call it a day after this coming season and Tony Parker, 34, will enter the last year of his contract in the 2017-18 season. The Spurs are positioning themselves to form a Big 3 with Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and an all-star calibre point guard to join them.
Stephen Curry to be targeted
While Curry is an unrealistic target, Bleacher Report Spotlight’s Ric Bucher believes Gregg Popovich & Co. would make a hard push at the reigning two-time league MVP.
“I think the Spurs are looking at the fact that Kevin Durant came into Golden State and that Kevin Durant may take up some of the superstar space that was previously occupied by Steph Curry… and when Steph Curry becomes a free agent, I think they are going to go hard at Steph Curry,” the NBA analyst said on Bleacher Report Radio.
Chris Paul to replace Tony Parker?
Unlike Curry, Paul is a more realistic target, per sources. Paul shares a healthy relationship with Popovich and earned the respect of the iconic coach after the Los Angeles Clippers beat the San Antonio Spurs 4-3 in the first round of last year’s epic playoff series.
With Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick also approaching free agency next year, there’s a very good chance that Paul bolts from Los Angeles and chases a ring. Paul, who turns 32 next May, realizes that the title window is closing fast and the time is right to make sacrifices to pursue a championship.
Parker’s steady decline
Tony Parker, the 2007 finals MVP, is no longer an elite point guard. Last season, he finished with his lowest scoring aggregate (11.9 points per game) since his rookie season in 2001-02. During the playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Parker made just 3/10 from deep over six games.
The Spurs acquired rookie Dejounte Murray with hopes of replacing the aging Parker. But Murray’s performance in the Summer League doesn’t exude too much confidence. Remember, the Spurs were also pursing Mike Conley Jr. as a possible replacement for Parker but weren’t willing to outbid Memphis Grizzlies who handed the guard the most lucrative contract in league history last month.
Next summer, Curry, Paul and Russell Westbrook are all free agents. But Chris Paul, a selfless pass-first PG, is perhaps the best fit in the Spurs system that preaches team-first basketball.