The San Antonio Spurs have been a model franchise for years, but even they aren’t immune to pulling the trigger on deals that come back to haunt them.
Ever since Tim Duncan joined the San Antonio Spurs, they had to be creative to keep building the perfect cast around him. With the success he brought came limited early draft picks, forcing the organization to find their supporting cast through smart selections and wheeling and dealing with other teams.
Sometimes, the Spurs struck gold with the deals they made, most notably the 2011 draft-day trade that gave them a future superstar and led to one last ring for Timmy. Although he was a fan favorite, trading George Hill was a small price to pay for Kawhi Leonard and Davis Bertans.
While San Antonio made out like bandits on occasions like those, there were plenty of times where the organization was left with the short end of the stick. One such occasion that didn’t quite make the cut came in June 2003, when the Spurs had the 28th pick in the NBA Draft coming off an NBA title.
The Spurs selected 6-3 Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa but opted to trade him for a 2005 1st-round draft pick from the Phoenix Suns. Barbosa went on to have a long, successful career in the NBA, winning Sixth Man of the Year with Phoenix in 2006-07 and becoming an NBA champion with the Warriors in 2015.
However, what makes this deal miss the cut is what the Spurs ended up doing with their pick from the Suns. Packaging the pick with Malik Rose and another pick, San Antonio acquired Nazr Mohammed from the New York Knicks.
Rasho Nesterovic started for the Spurs’ 2005 title team all season long, but when the playoffs came around, it was Mohammed that started all 23 games, pitching in 7.1 points and 6.7 rebounds. While it was tough missing out on Barbosa, it’s not like the Spurs ended up empty-handed.
With that honorable mention out of the way, let’s dive into some trades that saw the Spurs ultimately get the raw end of the deal.
Next: No. 7