2. Spurs trade Luis Scola for Vassilis Spanoulis and 2nd rd pick (2007)
Throughout the 2000s, patience paid off multiple times for the San Antonio Spurs. With guys like Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter, they had to wait a few seasons before getting a return on their draft investments. Unfortunately, the Spurs were also burned by not having enough patience when it came to Argentina’s other basketball superstar, Luis Scola.
As Manu Ginobili was preparing to make his NBA debut in 2002, the Spurs had their eyes on his Argentine compatriot, selecting Scola with the 56th overall pick in that year’s draft. His overseas contract in Spain, however, didn’t allow him to join the team anytime soon.
The Spurs spent the next few years trying to work out a way to get the 6-9 power forward to the Alamo City but were unsuccessful. Eventually, they went with another Argentine, Fabricio Oberto, to fill his spot, as well as Tiago Splitter.
In 2007, R.C. Buford made the call to trade Jackie Butler and Luis Scola to the Houston Rockets for Vassilis Spanoulis and a 2009 2nd round draft pick, which later became Nando De Colo. Scola went on to thrive with the Rockets, averaging 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds through five seasons.
“I can’t complain — I’m happy with the way my career went,” Scola once told Express-News writer Jeff McDonald. “It’s just one of those things. You think if I had come here a little bit earlier, I’d have a couple of rings or have a chance to play with Duncan.”
The Spurs still had success in the form of championships throughout the Scola situation, but letting go of him is still widely regarded as one of the few missteps they made in the Big Three era.
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