Top Five Spurs Front Office Fails


The Spurs front office is consider by some the “gold standard” of NBA front offices.  We have seen them find talent late in the NBA Draft, sign key role-players to compliment the “Big Three” and pull off trades to keep the Spurs in title contention.  The front office has done a wonderful job during these recent year of the Spurs’ history. We even see the success with other teams such as the Portland Trailblazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder with past front office guys like Kevin Pritchard and Sam Presti.

However no one is perfect and the Spurs front office is no exception. Here are our top five Spurs front office fails in franchise history.

5.  Drafting Dwayne Schintzius in the 1990 NBA Draft. In the 1990 NBA Draft, the Spurs passed on guys like Toni Kukoc and Cedric Ceballos and with their 24th pick, the Spurs drafted this bum.  Not only did he have on and off the court issues, he did not bring anything to the Spurs when he put on the uniform. Unless you count that magnificent mullet.

4.  Trading Leoandro Barbosa to the Phoenix Suns. In the 2003 NBA Draft, the Spurs selected Barbosa with their 28th pick.  However his rights were traded to the Phoenix Suns for a future protected first-round pick. Not only did Barbosa become a solid contributor for the Suns, he won the NBA’s 2006-2007 Sixth Man of the Year award and is considered one of the NBA’s fastest guards.  R.C. Buford even admitted his regrets in dealing Barbosa to the Suns when he said Barbosa’s name will be etched on his tombstone along with . . .

3.  Passing up on Josh Howard in the 2003 NBA Draft. What was up with R.C. Buford in the 2003 NBA Draft? Not his best moments as the Spurs G.M. Not only did he trade Barbosa to the Suns, supposedly Coach Pop and Tim Duncan had mentioned to R.C. to draft Howard. Well we all know what he did and drafted Barbosa only to trade him to the Suns. The Dallas Mavericks ended up with Howard and the rest is history.  Even R.C. regrets this when he said he would also have Howard’s name etched on his tombstone along with Barbosa’s.

2.  Trading Luis Scola to the Houston Rockets. Scola was a gem the Spurs had the foresight to draft in the 2002 NBA Draft. He was tearing up the Spanish leagues and looked like he would have been a great compliment to Tim Duncan in the paint.  However due to a tremendous buyout Scola had with TAU Ceramica, and when deals to buy out Scola’s contract fell through, the Spurs ended up signing Fabricio Oberto. So with the Spurs being cap-conscious, and Pop feeling Scola would not get minutes in the front-court, they ended up trading him to the Houston Rockets for lint, a bag of Doritos and a used baby’s diaper which was in reality Vassilis Spanoulis, a future second-round draft pick, and cash considerations.  I get why they had to trade him but why did they have to trade him to a team in the same conference let alone the same division?

1.  Trading George Gervin to the Chicago Bulls in 1985. How does the Spurs front office trade the man who led the Spurs team for 13 years, a player who won multiple scoring titles, and put San Antonio on the map to the Chicago Bulls for David Greenwood? Gervin should have retired a Spur and not worn any other jersey. To make matters worse, Gervin averaged 21.2 points the season prior to being traded for Greenwood who averaged 13.5 points for the Bulls. Gervin reportedly did not want to be traded from the Spurs, wanted to remain a Spur and retire in San Antonio.

Now I am sure there are plenty of other epic fails the Spurs front office has made throughout the team’s history and I may have left out a few like drafting Alfredrick Hughes. So why not leave us your comments and leave us your thoughts on these fails in Spurs history.

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Michael is the founder and editor of He has a long history in journalism, sports and online media. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others.