2. LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge had made four straight All-Star appearances before the Spurs signed him in free agency in 2015 to a four-year max contract, which was for $80 million at the time.
In year one, the Spurs won 12 more games and advanced one round further in the playoffs than the previous season. Next season, they reached the conference finals before losing to the Warriors, but things changed after Kawhi’s injury and subsequent departure from the Alamo.
Aldridge made two more All-Star appearances, but the Spurs were bounced in the first round of the playoffs and were not true contenders. His production started to fall off at 34 years old, but he was still under contract after a three-year extension. San Antonio won just 32 games in 2020, but they kept Aldridge around until finally waiving him in March of 2021.
Aldridge averaged 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 32.2 minutes per game over his five-and-half seasons with the Spurs, including making three All-Star appearances. He was an outstanding player, but San Antonio failed to maximize his value.
The Spurs could have received a significant haul for the 6’11 forward in 2019 when they were beginning their rebuild. Instead, the franchise held onto the veteran until he had nothing left in the tank and needed to be waived. It was a massive mistake that forced the Spurs into a longer retool.