It looks like the San Antonio Spurs are really gunning for All-Star point guard Chris Paul. In a podcast session with fellow ESPN NBA insider Kevin Arnovitz, Sr. NBA writer Zach Lowe revealed that there is indeed a mutual interest between the Spurs and Paul. Although he did not disclose the level of interest involved, it’s enough to establish the Spurs as a strong contender for Paul’s services this summer.

CP3 to San Antonio?

Even before Lowe disclosed that piece of information, there were already reports about Paul showing significant interest in the Spurs. The 32-year old Paul is expected to use his early termination clause on the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers and become an unrestricted free agent starting July 1.

The Clippers have the right to offer a longer and more lucrative deal (estimated at $205 million over five years), but at this point of Paul’s career, he might prioritize winning over money.

"There's been a lot of rumblings about Chris Paul, and I think that's real, I think there's mutual interest there,” Lowe opined in the podcast.

While the Clippers were still figuring out how to move past the second round of the playoffs, the Spurs reached the Conference Finals with their starting point guard (Tony Parker) and star player (Kawhi Leonard) injured. The Spurs even looked like a legit threat to the Golden State Warriors in the first 30 minutes of the Western Conference Finals series after leading by as much as 25 points in Game 1.

However, the Spurs’ finals hopes crumbled in the blink of an eye when Leonard re-injured his sprained left foot in the third quarter of that game. Leonard never played a single game in the series, allowing the Warriors to sweep the series and reach their third straight NBA Finals appearance.

If Paul joins the Spurs, he will have a chance to form another Big 3 with Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, who clearly needs a top-notch point guard in order for him to be effective.

Parker, meanwhile, could slide down to a backup role, giving the Spurs depth at the point guard position.

Cap-clearing sacrifices

Lowe understands that the Spurs need to make sacrifices in order to offer Paul a significant paycheck. It’s almost impossible for San Antonio to sign Paul to a max contract given their financial situation, but they can nevertheless offer him a contract of $15M per year upward if they can convince Pau Gasol to opt out from the second year of hid deal worth $16M.

“I don't know how real it is given the Clippers can offer a gigantic amount of money and are also a really good team; and the Spurs, like I said, have no sort of cap flexibility to get there. I'm very curious about what they do this summer and who's on the team next year," per Lowe.

Creating room for Paul would also mean letting key players like incoming free agents Jonathon Simmons, Patty Mills, Dewayne Dedmon (player’s option of $3M) and David Lee ($1.6M) walk away in free agency. Of course, they can still retain Gasol, Mills and other key players, although it’s unlikely they’ll take a veteran minimum to stay with the Spurs.

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