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NBA Trade Deadline: Greatest Deals in Every Team's History

Darryl FetzCorrespondent IIJanuary 5, 2017

NBA Trade Deadline: Greatest Deals in Every Team's History

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    The day before the trade deadline is always one of the most hectic days of the year in the NBA.

    Some of these deals went down the day before the deadline, while some were a week before, but all of them were last-minute deals by teams trying to improve before the playoffs began. 

    For some of the older deals there was actually no deadline, but the trades happened during the season at the All-Star break.

Atlanta Hawks

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    Atlanta Hawks get: Theo Ratliff, Nazr Mohammed, Toni Kukoc and Pepe Sanchez

    Philadelphia 76ers get: Dikembe Mutombo and Rashawn McLeod

     

    The first trade on this list actually ended up pretty fair.

    Ratliff went on to post some impressive block numbers while in Atlanta while Tony Kukoc emerged as one of the Hawks' main scoring threats. Even though it did not help the team in the win/loss column, it made them a more dynamic team. 

Boston Celtics

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    Boston Celtics get: Antoine Walker

    Atlanta Hawks get: Gary Payton, Tom Gugliotta, Michael Stewart and a first-round pick (Rajon Rondo)

     

    The Celtics are known for their trading, but little of if has come at the trade deadline. Antoine Walker had a very up and down career for the Celtics, but he still helped contribute by hitting three-pointers, even if he did take too many.

    This trade would have been a failure if Boston was not able to get Rondo back after they had traded away his rights. Because he is now their starting point guard, this trade can be seen in a different light. 

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Charlotte Bobcats get: Tyrus Thomas

    Chicago Bulls get: Acie Law, Flip Murray and a protected first-round draft pick

     

    Even though the Tyrus Thomas experiment has not turned out to be a booming success for the Bobcats, when compared to the trade in which they gave away Gerald Wallace, the Thomas trade becomes better.

    Thomas is averaging 5.4 points and 4.2 rebounds while starting a little over half the Bobcats games. 

Chicago Bulls

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    Chicago Bulls get: Luc Longley and Dragan Tarlac

    Minnesota Timberwolves get: Stacey King

     

    Stacey King helped the Bulls as a role player in the team's first three NBA Championships. He was then swapped for Longley in 1994, who became a better version of King. 

    A great passer for a big man, Longley helped Jordan and company win three straight NBA Championships. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Cleveland Cavaliers get: Baron Davis and first-round pick (Kyrie Irving)

    Los Angeles Clippers get: Mo Williams and Jamario Moon

     

    Mo Williams is an important piece for the Clippers this season, but few players are having a bigger impact on their team than Kyrie Irving. Irving is a lock to win the Rookie of the Year award, and the Cavs are surely happy they made this trade to lock up the draft pick.

    With Davis now out of the equation, Irving is the unquestioned leader and best player on this team.

Dallas Mavericks

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    Dallas Mavericks get: Nick Van Exel, Raef LaFrentz, Tariq Abdul-Wahad and Avery Johnson

    Denver Nuggets get: Juwan Howard, Tim Hardaway and Donnell Harvey

     

    These role players fit in well with the established core of the Mavericks, especially Van Exel and LaFrentz. LaFrentz was a shot-blocker and Van Exel an explosive offensive player. They helped balance out Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash. 

    Even though the Mavericks broke through for their title with a different core group of players, this trade represented the building blocks for the franchise and the beginning of their playoff runs. 

Denver Nuggets

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    Denver Nuggets get: Alex English

    Indiana Pacers get: George McGinnis

     

    In 1980, the Denver Nuggets swapped former Pacers star George McGinnis back to Indiana for their blossoming scorer in Alex English. 

    In one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history, English turned into one of the most prolific scorers in the game. McGinnis was out of the league by 1982, while English made the Hall of Fame after his career had ended. 

Detroit Pistons

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    Detroit Pistons get: Rasheed Wallace and Mike James

    Boston gets: Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter and Tony Allen (draft pick)

    Atlanta gets: Bobby Sura, Zeljko Rebraca, Chris Mills and Josh Smith (draft pick)

     

    Wallace was one of the key elements in the Pistons' championship run, giving the team a talented power forward that could spread the floor. 

    While Josh Smith and Tony Allen, both taken with draft picks in the deal, have ended up being very good pro players, Rasheed was one of the best players on a championship-winning team. 

Golden State Warriors

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    Golden State Warriors get: Baron Davis

    New Orleans Hornets get: Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis

     

    While Baron Davis is now far gone from the Warriors, he provided them with one of their best moments in franchise history in a huge upset of the No. 1-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 NBA playoffs.

    Davis, a player that was adored by the Oakland fanbase, led Golden State to the win over Dallas after entering the playoffs as the No. 8 seed. 

Houston Rockets

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    Houston Rockets get: Clyde Drexler and Tracy Murray

    Portland Trail Blazers get: Otis Thorpe, Marcelo Nicola and Randolph Childress (draft pick)

     

    Returning to Houston was the best thing for Drexler's career, as he teamed up with Hakeem Olajuwon to form a formidable duo in Houston. 

    Drexler and Olajuwon went on to win the 1995 title, and Drexler went down as one of the most versatile NBA players of all time. 

Indiana Pacers

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    Indiana Pacers get: Detlef Schrempf

    Dallas Mavericks get: Herb Williams

     

    With Reggie Miller and Rik Smits already in place, Indiana was looking for a complementary piece. Enter Schrempf, the reserve forward from the Mavericks who won back-to-back Sixth Man of the Year awards and eventually made his way into the starting lineup and the NBA All-Star Game. 

    A superb three-point shooter, Schrempf helped the Pacers become one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. 

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Los Angeles Clippers get: Winston Garland

    Golden State Warriors get: Two future second-round draft picks

     

    The Clippers have had very few deadline deals, with only four in their history. One was a disaster when they traded for Dominique Wilkins, who got injured early on for them, and the others were all very small trades. 

    The best value they ever got back in a trade was for Winston Garland, a player who almost averaged double figures for them over 97 games. 

Los Angeles Lakers

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    Los Angeles Lakers get: Pau Gasol and Devin Ebanks (draft pick)

    Memphis Grizzlies get: Kwame Brown, Marc Gasol, Javaris Crittenton, Donte Greene (draft pick) and Greivis Vasquez (draft pick)

     

    Some call this one of the biggest steals in the history of the NBA. While Memphis is starting to reap some of the benefits with the Marc Gasol's vastly improved play, the Lakers certainly came out ahead in the beginning. 

    Pau Gasol became the second-best player on two NBA Finals-winning teams and has helped the Lakers legacy live on. 

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Memphis Grizzlies get: Kwame Brown, Marc Gasol, Javaris Crittenton, Donte Greene (draft pick) and Greivis Vasquez (draft pick)

    Los Angeles Lakers get: Pau Gasol and Devin Ebanks (draft pick)

     

    The same trade as before was also the most important deadline deal the Grizzlies have ever made. While at first it looked like the sort of trade that could cripple a franchise, Marc Gasol has continued to improve and was voted to the All-Star team this year for his outstanding play. 

    It would take a championship for this trade to be ever be even, but at least Memphis got a solid player out of it—more than many teams can say when trading with the Lakers. 

Miami Heat

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    Miami get: Tim Hardaway and Chris Gatling

    Golden State Warriors get: Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles

     

    With his quickness and sharp crossover dribble, Hardaway became an instant leader on the Heat. Hardaway teamed up with Alonzo Mourning to make a great duo, and the pair carried the Heat into an NBA Finals appearance. 

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Milwaukee Bucks get: Sam Cassell, Chris Gatling and Paul Grant

    New Jersey Nets get: Stephon Marbury, Chris Carr, Bill Curley, Elliot Perry

    Minnesota Timberwolves get: Terrell Brandon and Brian Evans

     

    The Bucks certainly got the better end of this massive three-way trade. Cassell teamed with Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson to form a Big Three that would lead the Bucks to within a game of the NBA finals.  

    While Brandon and Marbury also paid dividends for their new teams, Cassell was easily the best player in the trade and was a dominant force for the early '90s Bucks teams. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Minnesota Timberwolves get: Terrell Brandon and Brian Evans

    Milwaukee Bucks get: Sam Cassell, Chris Gatling and Paul Grant

    New Jersey Nets get: Stephon Marbury, Chris Carr, Bill Curley, Elliot Perry

     

    The same trade as for the Bucks, except the Timberwolves only had moderate success with Brandon compared to the impact of Cassell. 

    The main reason this trade worked for Minnesota is that Brandon was the opposite of Marbury, who the Timberwolves were trying to get rid of. Brandon actually meshed well with Kevin Garnett and they played on some good teams together. 

New Jersey Nets

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    New Jersey Nets get: Deron Williams

    Utah Jazz get: Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter (draft pick) as well as 2012 draft pick

     

    In response to Carmelo Anthony going to the Knicks, the Nets wanted to do something big. They pulled this trade out with Utah at the last moment, and no one saw it coming.

    This could go down as one of the worst trades of all time if Williams decides to leave after this season. The Nets would move to Brooklyn with nothing and be crippled as a franchise. 

    If he does stay, though, Williams is an elite player that the Nets can continue to build around for the future. 

New Orleans Hornets

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    Charlotte Hornets get: Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell

    Los Angeles Lakers get: Glen Rice, J.R. Reid and B.J. Armstrong

     

    Even though Rice won a championship with the Lakers, this deal turned out well for the Hornets. Jones became a defensive leader on the team and led the league in steals the year after arriving in Charlotte.

    Campbell would become a nice role player for the Hornets as well.

New York Knicks

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    New York Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter and Shelden Williams

    Minnesota Timberwolves get: Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and 2015 second-round pick

    Denver Nuggets get: Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufus a 2012 second-round pick, a 2013 second-round draft pick  and a 2014 first-round draft pick

     

    While the Linsanity experiment is still going in New York, the potential for this to be a great trade is still there for the Knicks. If Carmelo can find a way to coexist with the other big names in New York, the Knicks could turn into a dominant force in the East. 

    Even though Denver is doing well from this trade with all the pieces they got, the Knicks are still the winner here. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Seattle Sonics get: Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie, Ronald Murray and Luke Ridnour (draft pick)

    Milwaukee Bucks get: Gary Payton and Desmond Mason

     

    Instead of dumping an aging Gary Payton for next to nothing just to get rid of him, the Sonics got back an All-Star in Ray Allen.

    Allen played for Seattle for four-and-a-half years before going to Boston, but he became beloved in the city and was a team leader within the organization.

    The sweet-shooting Allen will retire with a different team, but he will always be a Sonic to the diehard fans in Seattle. 

Orlando Magic

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    Dwight Howard.

    Yes, this is cheating because nothing has happened yet, but there have been so few last-minute deals in Magic history that whatever happens here will be number one. 

    The Magic either need to find a complementary player to keep Dwight in Orlando or they will trade him. 

    Whether the Magic are able to pull off a trade that keeps Dwight happy, or if they trade him for pieces, it will without a doubt be the most important deadline trade the Magic will have ever made.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Philadelphia 76ers get: Wilt Chamberlain

    San Francisco Warriors get: Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer and cash

     

    In one of the biggest steals of all time, Chamberlain went back to his home in Philly, while the Warriors came away with almost nothing. Of course there was no trade deadline back in 1965, but this trade happened around the All-Star break, making it one of the first times a superstar was traded mid-season. 

    Chamberlain ended up winning the MVP award three years in a row, and led the 76ers to a championship title in 1967. 

Phoenix Suns

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    Phoenix Suns get: Kevin Johnson, Ty Corbin, Mark West and Dan Majerle (draft pick)

    Cleveland Cavaliers get: Larry Nance

     

    Larry Nance was an All-Star who was slightly past his prime, and in 1988 he was swapped for two of the most popular Suns players ever.

    Johnson would become an All-Star and team leader for Phoenix, while Majerle became a fan favorite with his thunderous dunks and three-point shot. 

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Portland Trail Blazers get: Damon Stoudamire, Walt Williams and Carlos Rogers

    Toronto Raptors get: Kenny Anderson, Alvin Williams and Gary Trent

     

    In 1998, the Trail Blazers were looking for a new point guard. Damon Stoudamire fit the bill.

    Stoudamire had an up-and-down career with Blazers, but after he ditched his "Jail Blazers" reputation, he was embraced by the city of Portland. 

    Nevertheless, Stoudamire was a producer for the Blazers during their playoff runs of the early 2000s. 

Sacramento Kings

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    Kansas City Kings get: Reggie Theus

    Chicago Bulls get: Steve Johnson and Greg Wiltjer, Mike Brittain and Ken Johnson (all draft picks)

     

    The Kings are another team that has made little noise right before the trade deadline, so we must go back to 1984 for their highest-impact trade. 

    After requesting to be traded from the Bulls, Theus flourished in his new home. He once again became an offensive leader, and helped the Kings transition into their new home in Sacramento. 

San Antonio Spurs

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    San Antonio Spurs get: Nazr Mohammed and Jamison Brewer

    New York Knicks get: Malik Rose, Nate Robinson (draft pick) and Mardy Collins (draft pick)

     

    The Spurs are another team that tends to wait until the end of the season to reload their talent. They have made only a few moves before the trade deadline. 

    One move they have made that helped the team acquiring Nazr Mohammed, who was a starter on their 2005 championship squad. 

    Even though he is not the best pickup of all time, you can't argue with what the Spurs have done over the last decade. 

Toronto Raptors

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    Toronto Raptors get: Alvin Williams, Gary Trent, Chauncey Billups, Dee Brown, Roy Rogers and John Thomas

    Boston Celtics get: Zan Tabak, Kenny Anderson and Popeye Jones

    Portland Trail Blazers get: Damon Stoudamire, Walt Williams and Carlos Rogers

     

    The Raptors are yet another team that has largely decided to stand pact at the trade deadline. 

    The biggest positive that came from this trade was that Alvin Williams emerged as a solid player for Toronto. He teamed with Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, two of the most exciting players in Raptors history, to form a decent team that made the playoffs. 

Utah Jazz

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    Utah Jazz get: Jeff Hornacek, Sean Green and Junior Burrough (draft pick)

    Philadelphia 76ers get: Jeff Malone and B.J. Tyler (draft pick)

     

    In 1994, the Jazz roped in Hornacek to team with Karl Malone and John Stockton in a great last-minute deal.

    Hornacek was more than the Jazz could have hoped for, growing into the team's third option on offense. The pure shooter accompanied Utah to two NBA Finals series.

Washington Wizards

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    Washington Wizards get: Hubert Davis, Christian Laettner, Courtney Alexander, Etan Thomas and Loy Vaught as well as cash

    Dallas Mavericks get: Juwan Howard, Calvin Booth and Obinna Ekezie

     

    No one truly won in this ugly trade, but the Wizards are not fond of trading near the deadline. Washington managed to add several serviceable 

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