3. 2017 Offseason
The 2017 Offseason played a crucial role in altering the direction of the team, but not for good reasons. The Spurs, for the first time in years, had significant cap space and were coming off a 60-win season and a western conference finals run. Spurs fans had high hopes that they could add a key player or two to help put the team over the top, but that didn’t happen.
While there were reports that the Spurs were going to pursue Chris Paul or Mike Conley in free agency, Paul instead facilitated a move to Houston while Conley re-signed with Memphis. The front office instead chose to re-sign Patty Mills to a 4-year, $50 million deal and a then-37-year-old Pau Gasol to a baffling 3-year, $48 million deal.
Additionally, All-Star Paul George had requested that Indiana trade him, and San Antonio was supposedly at the top of his list. However, the Spurs weren’t able to get it done and he was instead traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. To San Antonio's credit, though, they did draft Derrick White and sign Rudy Gay, but also made the questionable decision of signing former Spur Marco Belinelli.
Given that Kevin Durant joined Golden State the year before, and that George and Paul were traded to the Thunder and the Rockets instead of joining the Spurs, their moves simply weren’t good enough to push the team over the top. The Spurs had a big chance to prolong their title window for a few more seasons but ultimately couldn't.
As a result, it reportedly contributed to former Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard’s then-growing unhappiness with the front office, leading to his eventual exit. In this way, the Spurs' 2017 offseason negatively altered the direction of the franchise.