1. San Antonio Spurs trade Goran Dragic for Malik Hairston, 2nd rd pick (2008)
He’s had eight straight seasons of averaging over 14 points per game. He’s won the NBA Most Improved Player award, been named to an All-NBA Third Team, and is coming off an NBA Finals appearance. He also could’ve been a Spur from the beginning.
Goran Dragic has torched the Spurs in the past, but none of that is as painful as the wound they inflicted on themselves in 2008.
No one in the league could’ve predicted the kind of player the 6-3 Slovenian guard would turn out to be, as San Antonio selected him 45th overall in that year’s draft.
Being just as unaware as everyone else, the Spurs decided to trade Dragic to the Phoenix Suns for Malik Hairston, cash, and a 2009 2nd round draft pick that later became DeJuan Blair.
Hairston lasted just 62 total games in the league, both on the Spurs, in which he averaged 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.
Given how well Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili worked out as late draft picks for San Antonio, maybe this trade was just a case of the basketball Gods balancing things out. That doesn’t make things any less painful 12 years later, however.
If anything, the Spurs could’ve at least prevented Dragic from dropping one of the most dominant fourth-quarter playoff performances ever on them if they had held onto him. Instead, they’re left wondering what might’ve been as he continues to thrive.