Seven players the San Antonio Spurs gave up on too soon

Atlanta Hawks v San Antonio Spurs
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2. Luka Samanic

How about we get the most divisive player on this list out of the way early? Luka Samanic spent just two seasons with the Spurs before they released him during their 2021 preseason schedule. Gregg Popovich never stated a specific reason why the team waived their former first-round pick, but you can bet his infamous decision to give up on defense down the stretch of a close contest against the Magic probably sealed the deal.

Both parties share the blame for this union failing so quickly. Samanic had uncanny ball skills and defensive versatility for a frontcourt player, but the consistency and effort were never there. His body language was awful on the bench and worse in the rare instances he earned garbage minutes. As much as those issues doomed him, there is no doubt San Antonio piled on his irritation by prioritizing veterans in consecutive losing seasons.

The 23-year-old power forward has dominated the G League on two-way contracts with the Knicks and Celtics, though foot injuries and congested depth charts have prevented him from suiting up in the NBA since getting booted from the 2-1-0. And while the rebuilding Spurs seem like a perfect destination for someone like Samanic, we'll probably never know whether he could have become a serviceable rotation member for this franchise.