It's impossible to do revisionist history, I realize that. But I do know last years team would have been better. How much better, I don't know. But somewhere around 40 wins and in the playoffs would have been realistic. I would have liked that alot more than what actually happened.
As for this season, if Paul didn't want to stay they had tons of options. Where ever Paul wanted to go (a winning, big market team) would have required a S&T. They could have still done the Ariza/Oak trade to Orlando, plus the deal with Ayon for Anderson. Belli and Landry would have been free agents. Lots of options existed and its hard to project what all might have happened.
So the guy that most experts are calling a once in a generation player wasn't worth a rebuild? I wonder if San Antonio would trade Duncan to have been a playoff team in 96-97. Chad Ford said most GMs would have taken Davis over pretty much every recent top pick besides Durant and Lebron
They got really lucky and while I understand your point, I think you are exxagerating. Duncan is one of the greatest of all time and has won 4 rings. Davis is a great player but isn't a guarantee. But to answer your question, no. He wasn't worth flushing a whole season and trading away a season of one of the best players in the league.