For decades, the sports world has viewed the San Antonio Spurs as one of the best front offices in the business. From their consummate professionalism to their ability to regularly uncover diamonds in the rough in either the draft or free agency, they have proved time and time again that they know how to identify, develop, and retain talent better than most organizations.
Even the Spurs don't get it right every time. While they have rightly received applause for picking players no one else saw coming, like Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker, we tend to gloss over the free agency moves that didn't pan out or the supposed next European star who never came to America.
Player evaluation can make or break a franchise, and though the Spurs have done it better than most, they still have their fair share of mistakes. So I teamed up with our site expert Noah Magaro-George to compile a list of seven players the Spurs traded away or let walk in free agency before they should have.
1. Goran Dragic
It's hard to say that the Spurs "gave up" on Goran Dragic too soon. What's more accurate is that they never even gave him a chance.
After a few impressive years in Slovenia and Spain, Dragic made his transition to the NBA in 2008 and was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 45th overall pick. He was quickly traded to the Phoenix Suns for cash and the rights to the Malik Hariston, who the Suns had taken 48th.
It didn't take long for Dragic to make an impact in Phoenix. He served as a key backup to Steve Nash before spending time with the Houston Rockets, and then eventually coming back to Phoenix where he took over the starting point guard spot. Since then he's made stops in Miami, Toronto, Brooklyn, and Chicago, made one All-Star Team, one All-NBA Team, and won Most Improved Player of the Year after his impressive 2013-2014 season.
Conversely, Malik Hariston played in 62 games for the Spurs, averaged about 2 points and 8 minutes per game, and was out of the NBA by the end of the 2010 season.
It's hard to fault the Spurs too much for this one. They just didn't know what they had. But if they had a time machine I guarantee you they'd turn back the clock to tell Phoenix to hold their cash considerations and they'll keep the future All-NBA point guard.