The NBA draft will take place Thursday evening, but the rumor mill has already been in full momentum regarding the San Antonio Spurs.
Tuesday, there was a report that the Spurs are open to trading Danny Green, and now Wednesday, there are rumors regarding the team exploring the market for LaMarcus Aldridge, while the Derrick Rose rumor has resurfaced, and the team apparently could look at trying to bring George Hill back to San Antonio.
According to ESPN.com, as well as media outlets from Cleveland and Phoenix, the Spurs are exploring the trade market for Aldridge, and they’ve spoken with at least three teams, with two of those teams reportedly being the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns.
According to the reports, the Spurs initially are seeking a Top-10 pick in Thursday’s draft to move Aldridge. Most teams in the lottery like Sacramento and Phoenix could open the cap space to absorb Aldridge’s contract, but the fact that a deal hasn’t happened shows Aldridge’s value on the market might have decreased from the number-4 pick from Phoenix or the number 5 or 10 picks from Sacramento.
A source told the San Antonio Express News the Spurs are just using ‘due diligence’ in exploring the market for Aldridge. With Aldridge having a player option in his deal for next summer, the early expectation is he may decline that option and explore the free agent market next summer.
If the Spurs are aware Aldridge might leave next summer, it’s always logical to seek what they could get for him at the moment, rather than waiting and possibly having nothing in return by next summer if he were to leave San Antonio.
IF the Spurs did find a team to absorb Aldridge’s contract, San Antonio could open up to $34.8 million in cap space while keeping the cap holds of Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons on the books. If San Antonio allowed Mills to walk in free agency and they moved Aldridge, they could open up to $40.8 million in cap space, which would be enough money to sign a max free agent like Chris Paul.
The Express News also reports that the Portland Trail Blazers wouldn’t mind bringing Aldridge back to Portland, but they would only work with a deal where San Antonio took equal salary back. If the Spurs want to be players in free agency, they’d have to find a trade partner who wouldn’t take additional salary back for Aldridge.
The Express News also reports that though the Spurs haven’t initially explored bringing Hill back to San Antonio, sources do expect San Antonio to pursue Hill in free agency on July 1. Hill also wouldn’t mind returning to San Antonio according to the Express News.
According to Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN.com, the Spurs also still have interest in Paul and Rose. The Rose rumor would most likely be a plan C scenario. The Spurs would first go after Paul, if that didn’t work, then maybe Hill, and finally, they could look at giving Rose a decent offer, but nothing too high because the expectation is Dejounte Murray will get an increased role next season to further his development and Tony Parker could be healthy and playing again by January.