The San Antonio Spurs figure to be on the shortlist of NBA title contenders this season with Kawhi Leonard leading the way, but they reportedly attempted to add another game-changing superstar in Kyrie Irving during the offseason.
On Wednesday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com noted colleague Adrian Wojnarowski said, "San Antonio tried really, really hard to get him," when discussing Irving on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt.
The Cleveland Cavaliers ultimately traded Irving to the Boston Celtics during the offseason in a move that netted them Isaiah Thomas among other assets, although Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com reported Wednesday they explored a potential three-team trade with the Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers that could have brought Eric Bledsoe and Paul George to Cleveland.
While Irving is thriving in the Eastern Conference on Boston, the notion of him lacing it up alongside Leonard and for head coach Gregg Popovich in San Antonio is one the rest of the Western Conference is likely fine not considering.
The four-time All-Star is one of the best pure scorers in the league and could have taken some of the pressure off Leonard's shoulders with his three-point shooting and ability to slice through the defense and create shots at the rim.
He scored a career-high 25.2 points per game in Cleveland last season and was averaging 24.8 points a night in 2017-18 coming into Wednesday's victory over the Cavaliers.
San Antonio is 26-13 but was without point guard Tony Parker and Leonard at the start of the season because of injuries. Trading for Irving would have given it someone to carry the offensive load while they were working their way back and a proven clutch performer who already has a championship ring for the stretch run and playoffs.
Alas, the Spurs will instead make do with a core that reached the Western Conference Finals last season before losing to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.