Most important 3 trades in Spurs history

San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan
San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
2 of 3
Next Slide

The Spurs trade George Hill for Kawhi Leonard 

I know that it seems a bit hypocritical to list trading away Kawhi right before I mention the trade that brought him to San Antonio, but this is easily the second biggest and best trade in franchise history, as well as a massive roll of the dice. On the draft night of 2011, the Spurs traded George Hill to the Pacers for the draft rights to Kawhi Leonard.

Hill has spent the last 12 seasons as a reliable bench player and one of the best shooters in the league. Kawhi Leonard was a borderline MVP who locked down LeBron James in 2014 en route to the Spurs’ fifth championship and single-handily extended the dynasty an extra five or so seasons. 

At the time he was traded, Hill was only three years into his NBA career and a solid backup point guard poised to take the mantle after Tony Parker hung it all up. The Spurs flipped him for Leonard. Drafted 15th overall, the Spurs’ probably expected his ceiling to be a high-end bench player, about the same as what could have reasonably have been expected out of Hill. But the Spurs knew that Hill was a solid player who could bring wins. Leonard, on the other hand, was a project.

If Kawhi stayed on the Spurs or at least left with a degree of grace, then his number would be rushed to the rafters, and he would be considered a lock for the Spurs’ Mount Rushmore. Instead, he gets booed when he returns and is the fans’ most hated player in the league. Despite the remaining animosity, flipping George Hill for a championship deserves its spot on this list.