In the first NBA Playoff Finals between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Philadelphia 76ers, five of the 10 starting players were former ABA players.  These five ABA pitchers were Julius Erving, Caldwell Jones, George McGinnis, Dave Twardzik and Maurice Lucas.  The terms of the ABA-NBA merger implied that the Spirits of St. Louis were placed with Kentucky Colonels players in a special dispersal draft. Marvin Barnes went to the Detroit Pistons for $500,000. Moses Malone went to the Portland Trail Blazers for $300,000, Ron Boone went to the Kansas City Kings for $250,000, Randy Denton went to the New York Knicks for $50,000 and Mike Barr went to the Kansas City Kings for $15,000.   Of the 84 ABA players at the time of the merger, 63 played in the NBA during the 1976/77 season.  In this first season after the merger, four of the NBA`s top ten scorers came from the ABA (Billy Knight, David Thompson, Dan Issel and George Gervin).  Prior to the ABA, the NBA allowed college subclasses to enter the league. In 1969, the Denver Rockets hired Spencer Haywood, a Sophomore star at the University of Detroit, who had played on the U.S. basketball team in 1968. The NCAA filed a complaint, but Haywood and the ABA did.
Julius Erving and George Gervin joined the ABA`s Virginia Squires as sub-strates, as did Jim Chones of Marquette University at the New York Nets, George McGinnis of Indiana University at Indiana Pacers and Ralph Simpson of Michigan State at the Denver Rockets. Moses Malone joined the Utah stars of the ABA directly from high school.  After the merger, the NBA followed and the development of college subclasses was used in this league and high school players were also selected in subsequent NBA drafts.  The merger of the American Basketball Association (ABA) with the National Basketball Association (NBA) took place in 1976 after several trials over several years. The NBA and ABA had already begun merger negotiations in 1970, but a complaint from the head of the NBA players` union, Robertson v. National Basketball Ass, blocked the merger until 1976. The Spurs, who never made it past the first round of the ABA playoffs before the merger, have won nba division titles in five of their first six NBA seasons.  This occurred despite financial sanctions and proposed sanctions against the team. The Spurs then went through a period of decline in the late 1980s, but recovered in the 1990s and in 1999 became the first former ABA team to reach and win the NBA Finals.
Since the end of the 2018/19 season, they are the only former ABA team to have won a title. Since then, they have won four more NBA titles, in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. In 2003, the NBA Finals met two former ABA teams, the Spurs and the New Jersey Nets.  After the Squires left, the Kentucky Colonels, led by Artis Gilmore, defeated the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the ABA playoffs in 1976. Meanwhile, the Colonels lost a seven-game semifinal to the Denver Nuggets, led by Dan Issel and David Thompson. The Nuggets lost the ABA final to the New York Nets with Julius Erving, who beat George Gervin and the San Antonio Spurs to make it.