The San Antonio Spurs are not known for making massive deals at the trade deadline, and this season could very well be no different. Sure, the Spurs are the center of NBA trade rumors right now, but that doesn’t mean that a deal could actually be struck.
In continuation with Air Alamo’s posts this Christmas, we’re ranking the three most important trades in Spurs' history or the three times the Spurs were given the best gift. To be totally accurate, I will not include trades that still have to be fully carried out. Yes, it looks like the Spurs struck gold when they sent the expiring contract of DeMar DeRozan to Chicago for picks instead of letting him walk for nothing, especially with the implosion currently happening in Chicago. And yeah, it looks like the Spurs fleeced the Hawks in the Dejounte Murray deal, and the Hawks might move on from their superstar in Trae Young, but the picks attached to both of those trades are yet to convey, so I will not be listing them until we know in totality what the end result is.
Instead, I’m going way back to the distant lands of 2018, with the third-best trade in Spurs history.
The Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard to Toronto
After the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard’s relationship became totally unfixable, it was clear that the All-Star would probably never suit up for the Spurs again. The Spurs relented, and shipped him off to the Great White North for Jakob Poeltl, DeMar DeRozan, and a future pick.
Now, I have to present you with a matter of opinion. For this thought exercise, pretend that all the past drama between your team and Kawhi Leonard. Would you send Johnson and Poeltl to the Clippers for Leonard? At this point in their careers, both Johnson and Leonard (when healthy) are fringe All-Stars, and Poeltl is a solid starting center at an incredible value. Oh, and the Spurs also got DeMar DeRozan, and then flipped him for even more assets.
Sure, the Raptors won a ring in 2019 that they would not have won without Kawhi, but Johnson is the beating heart of the team, Poeltl is perhaps the most reliable player on the team, and the 2025 pick the Spurs got from Chicago is looking better and better. Overall, this trade is a win.