3. Spurs Get Their Championship-Starting Center Just in Time (2005)
Malik Rose played some huge minutes for the Spurs in both of their first two NBA titles, but his sacrifice led to even more success for San Antonio. With his minutes and production slowly declining to begin the 2004-05 season, they decided to flip Rose to the New York Knicks for Nazr Mohammed.
The 6-10 center was 27 years old at the time and joined the Spurs with 28 games left in their regular season. Despite only starting for five of those games, Mohammed suddenly found himself as the starting center for San Antonio throughout their postseason run.
Nazr's length and athleticism was much better-suited to match up with evolving bigs by 2005, and Coach Popovich's decision to roll with him as starting center proved to be the right call. Regulating Rasho Nesterovic to the bench and rolling with Mohammed, Horry, and Tim Duncan as his main bigs, Popovich won the most difficult of his NBA titles by scraping past the Detroit Pistons to capture the Spurs' third NBA crown.
Mohammed's biggest game in that postseason came against the Seattle SuperSonics as he scored 19 and pulled down seven rebounds to help the Spurs establish a 3-2 series lead.
Will the Spurs be adding another eventful deadline deal to their limited list? We'll know in less than a week.