LaMarcus Aldridge is far and away the biggest free agent signing in the history of the San Antonio Spurs. No knock against the big man, but considering the illustrious resume of the franchise, one would think there must have been more prolific signings in years past. Two factors predominantly play into that trend: One, free agency didn’t work the same during their hay day as it does now. And two, player movement did not ramp up until the mid-2010s.
Though San Antonio is one of the top ten largest cities in the U.S., it is considered a “small market” in the NBA. The first few paragraphs from this article I wrote in the fall describe this phenomenon. Free agents are much more likely to end up in Miami or New York than in old San Antone.
Some fans have been clamoring for the Spurs to spend in free agency this summer, throwing out names like Kristaps Porzingis. On Porzingis, let me “we have McDonalds at home” meme you here and point to Zach Collins, who has been capital b Balling recently. *whispers* I believe it is in San Antonio's best interest to sign Collins long-term this summer.
While swinging big in free agency has worked to perfection for the good guys many times, there have been several times throughout the history of the team where the opposite has been the case.
5. Moses Malone, 1994: 1 year, $305K
Undoubtedly one of the greatest the game has ever seen, Moses Malone was so far past his prime when the Spurs signed him that it wasn’t funny. To put things into perspective, my dad was ten years old when Moses got drafted to the ABA in 1974; by the time the big man was wearing Silver and Black, my dad had graduated college, got married, earned a master’s degree, and was several years into his career.
Imagine current Dwight Howard signing a contract with San Antonio this offseason. My reaction would be a little “alright man it might be time to hang it up,” and partially “what in the world are the Spurs doing.” It seems both sides realized early on this pairing wasn’t working out — Malone played 17 games and called it quits on his NBA career before the season was over. I should point out his Spurs tenure ended with a bang!