Robert Horry was a phenomenal free agent signing, but was he the best?
Throughout the franchise's history, the San Antonio Spurs have made some fantastic free-agent signings to complete eventual championship-winning teams.
San Antonio may not have a free-agency transaction that rivals a LeBron-to-Miami-like deal, but four championships are hard to ignore, and each of the following ranked players was a part of a title team.
Many of the Spurs' top players have come via the draft (David Robinson and Tim Duncan) or trades (George Gervin), but a handful of important role players have been added when the dotted line was signed.
With 16 consecutive playoff appearances and five trips to the NBA Finals during that stretch, the Spurs' front office clearly has made a few sensational moves to complement its team's superstars and compete for titles.
After spending a season playing professionally in Greece, Dominique Wilkins signed a one-year deal with the Spurs before the 1996-97 campaign.
Little did Wilkins know, however, that he would become the go-to guy, because San Antonio's All-Star center David Robinson would only play six games during the season after suffering two separate injuries.
In 63 contests, Wilkins played 30.9 minutes per game—averaging 18.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists. According to Basketball Reference, Wilkins' PER (player efficiency rating) was 19.6—still impressive for a 37-year-old.
Even though the Spurs only won a league-worst 20 games in 1996-97, the veteran Wilkins was the team's top contributor.
Of course, that Tim Duncan guy was drafted with the first-overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Finley was a solid addition to an already-loaded squad.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
So he did.
And then his previous team reached the finals. So then he had to win a title.
So he did.
Michael Finley played eight seasons with the Dallas Mavericks before signing a contract during the 2005 offseason to suit up in San Antonio. The Mavericks, as we now know, appeared in the 2006 championship before the Spurs won their fourth title in nine years the following season.
Finley was a prolific scorer in Dallas, but he immediately played fewer minutes while settling into a familiar role as a three-point specialist. A highlight of Finley's tenure with the team was during the first round of the 2007 playoffs; Finley dropped 26 points and shot 8-for-9 from behind the arc to eliminate the Denver Nuggets.
Finley canned 38.4 percent of his three-balls from 2005-2009, including a career-high 41.1 percent in 2009—his final full season in San Antonio.
Horry proved to be one of the most important Spurs' signing ever.
All he did was win, win, win, no matter what.
Robert Horry won a staggering seven championships throughout his 16-year NBA career. Acquired in the 2003 offseason, Horry soon cemented his legacy in San Antonio.
Sometimes better known as "Big Shot Bob," Horry lived up to that billing during the 2005 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons—especially during Game 5. Horry netted 21 points in the final 17:01 of the game, shooting 5-for-6 from behind the arc including the game-winner with 5.8 seconds remaining.
Rose was never a focal point, but he was an important role player.
Malik Rose spent one unsuccessful season with the Charlotte Hornets before joining the Spurs for the 1997-98 campaign.
Oft-remembered as being undersized, Rose played a physical brand of basketball in the post and was a solid rebounder throughout his eight seasons in San Antonio.
Rose progressively improved his box-score numbers as he received more minutes, but Basketball Reference's Per 36 Minute chart shows Rose was a consistent player. Using the per-36 numbers, Rose contributed approximately 15 points and nine rebounds each season while with the Spurs.
Rose was a member of the 1999 and 2003 championship teams, and he averaged 9.3 points and 5.8 rebounds during the latter of the title runs.
Johnson came up clutch for the Spurs during the 1999 finals.
Including multiple stints with the Spurs and Denver Nuggets, Avery Johnson played for 11 teams throughout his 16-year NBA career.
But his third and final tour in San Antonio was certainly a high point of Johnson's career. In the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, Johnson made the most important shot for the Spurs.
Holding a 3-1 series advantage in the finals over the New York Knicks, San Antonio wanted to close out the franchise's first ever NBA championship. Johnson drilled a jumper from the left corner to give the Spurs a 78-77 lead with 47 seconds remaining, and San Antonio held on to win the game.
Once San Antonio's career leader in assists, the "Little General" distributed 7.3 assists per game over his seven-year stretch with the Spurs from 1994-2001.
The franchise retired Johnson's jersey in 2007.
Bowen played eight seasons in San Antonio.
Bruce Bowen was not a flashy player.
He wasn't supposed to be, either.
Bowen found a home in San Antonio for the 2001-02 season and went on to win three championships with the team. His biggest responsibility was providing excellent defense, and Bowen could guard the league's best with his physical, in-your-face and certainly dirty-at-times attitude.
Of course, Bowen proved he was a solid shooter, too, posting a career 39.3 three-point percentage. He led the league in 2002-03 with a 44.1 percent mark from behind the arc.
Bowen started 500 consecutive games and was selected to an NBA All-Defensive Team in eight-consecutive seasons. The Spurs retired Bowen's number 12 jersey last year, a testament to the extreme value he provided on the defensive end of the floor.