LeBron James Future: Will Gregg Popovich Bring the King to San Antonio?

The NBA Finals might have only finished a couple of days ago but to many they are already an afterthought, LeBron James’ future is now the main topic of conversation for the league.

The four-time MVP registered his sixth defeat in the Finals as the Cleveland Cavaliers were swept by the Golden State Warriors, the third time in four years the Cavs have surrendered to Steve Kerr’s men.

GettyImages-970198416 LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 8, 2018 in Cleveland. Jason Miller/Getty Images

LeBron could become a free agent this summer by opting out of the final year of his contract with the Cavs and speculations over his future have rumbled on throughout the season.

Philadelphia, Houston and Los Angeles have long been considered the favorites to land the 33-year-old should he opt to leave the Cavs.

However, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the San Antonio Spurs could sit down with LeBron and make a pitch.

“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,” he wrote.

LeBron will in all likelihood become a free agent on July 1 and ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said during the Finals that he planned to speak with seven teams, including Cleveland.

The Sixers, the Rockets and the Lakers were all mentioned, as were the Warriors, the Celtics and the Heat, whom LeBron won two titles with after joining the team in 2010.

While San Antonio is a smaller market than Los Angeles, Boston and Philadelphia, there is huge respect between LeBron and Popovich and it is not beyond the realms of possibility to see them working together.

The Spurs have been one of the most successful NBA teams over the last two decades and they would be able to provide LeBron with a much better supporting cast than the one he was surrounded by in Cleveland.

Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay and Davis Bertans would undoubtedly relish the opportunity to play alongside the greatest player of his generation, while in Dejounte Murray the Spurs have one of the most exciting point guards in the league.

It’s not a mystery the 2016 first-round draft pick wants to play with LeBron and on Saturday he tweeted a photoshopped picture of James wearing a Spurs jersey.

Signing LeBron could also convince Kawhi Leonard to stay in Texas and league sources quoted by NBC suggested that Popovich is already working to get the 2014 NBA Finals MVP to sign a five-year super-max extension.

At the same time, San Antonio would have to make space for LeBron by shifting a number of big salaries, starting with LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Spurs could also renounce free agent Tony Parker and they might not resign Danny Green if he opts out. Some have suggested San Antonio’s best option would be to follow the example the Rockets and Chris Paul set last summer, when the latter swapped the Clippers for Houston.

This scenario would see James opt-in to the final year of his deal with the Cavs—which is worth $35 million—before forcing a trade to the Spurs.

For the deal to go through, however, San Antonio would have to put together a very attractive package for the Cavs.

Cleveland was left almost empty-handed when it traded Kyrie Irving to Boston a year ago and it will not want to make the same mistake twice, particularly if it entails losing LeBron.

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