4 Biggest San Antonio Spurs Trades

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DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl of the San Antonio Spurs during warm ups for their game in April 2019.
(Wikimedia Commons/All-Pro Reels)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Aug 17, 2023, 5:16 PM
  • Here's a list of the biggest San Antonio Spurs trades in franchise history.
  • George Gervin leads the list of players San Antonio received through trade.
  • Other notable players the Spurs acquired were Dave Greenwood, Kawhi Leonard, and DeMar DeRozan.

The San Antonio Spurs are among the most successful teams in the NBA, as they are perennial top contenders in basketball odds to win a championship. They are also the fifth-winningest NBA franchise in history with five titles. Thanks to their eye for talent, the Spurs were able to select great players in the draft to help them build their success in the league.

Alongside this ability to draft young talent, San Antonio was also able to make the correct moves in the trade market to bring in players that significantly helped their cause in the stacked Western Conference. Here’s a list of the top-four biggest trades in San Antonio Spurs team history.

George Gervin

Because of the bankruptcy of the Virginia Squires before the ABA-NBA merger, George Gervin was traded to San Antonio for cash worth $225,000. His arrival to the Spurs made him the franchise’s first bona fide superstar who led them offensively and carried them to multiple playoff campaigns, including three Western Conference Finals appearances.

The “Iceman” suited up for nine seasons in San Antonio and played in 709 games, averaging 27.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. The 6-foot-7 guard was also selected to be an All-Star throughout his tenure with the Texas-based team. Furthermore, he was part of the All-NBA first team five times before he got traded to Chicago.

Dave Greenwood

San Antonio found a way to utilize Gervin even in the latter part of his career, as they traded him to Chicago for Dave Greenwood in 1985. The Spurs swapped a 33-year-old Gervin (who only played one season for the Bulls and retired) for the 28-year-old Greenwood (who was able to play five seasons with San Antonio).

The 6-foot-9 power forward became a solid contributor during his time with the Spurs after producing an average of 8.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists to help the team qualify for the playoffs three times in 1986, 1988, and 1990. Greenwood was selected as the second-overall pick in the 1979 draft and played 293 games with San Antonio.

Kawhi Leonard

One of the biggest trades in franchise history happened during the 2011 draft, when San Antonio traded its rising star guard George Hill to Indiana for Kawhi Leonard and Davis Bertans, their 15th and 42nd overall pick that year. Leonard became the successor to the aging trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. This was Leonard’s first involvement in a big trade before he became part of the biggest Toronto Raptors’ trades.

“The Klaw” helped San Antonio reach consecutive NBA Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014 and delivered a title in 2014, where he also bagged the Finals MVP award. Aside from the championship, Leonard won two Defensive Player of the Year Awards and was selected to three All-Star Games. Before getting traded, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 407 games for the Spurs.

DeMar DeRozan

In 2018, the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs was falling apart, and the team was afraid to let their superstar walk away in free agency without getting someone in return, so San Antonio traded him to the Toronto Raptors. Leonard and Danny Green were swapped for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl during the 2019 offseason.

DeRozan became the team’s newest star and started a new era in San Antonio. In 206 games with the Spurs, the 6-foot-6 guard averaged 21.6 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.3 rebounds across three seasons. Unfortunately, they could only secure a spot in the postseason once during his entire tenure with the team before signing with Chicago in 2021.

4 Biggest San Antonio Spurs Trades

Year Player AcquiredTrade Details
1974George GervinSpurs received: George Gervin / Squires received: $225,000
1985Dave GreenwoodSpurs received: Dave Greenwood / Bulls received: George Gervin
2011Kawhi LeonardSpurs received: Kawhi Leonard and Davis Bertans / Pacers received: George Hill
2018DeMar DeRozanSpurs received: DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl / Raptors received: Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.