Pau Gasol to Los Angeles Lakers and the 15 Biggest Deadline Deals in NBA History
The 16th Thursday of the NBA season is a date all general managers must dread.
For the few weeks leading up to the day, teams are under tremendous pressure to make a deal that will give them a chance to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy awarded to the NBA champions. Even if a team isn't in contention, it is expected to make a move in the right direction.
That's right. No team is safe from the stress of the NBA Trade Deadline.
With all the expectations, general managers tend to make deals they wouldn't normally make. Players are moved so easily and rosters are shuffled all around the league.
Some trades are valued so high because a role player leads to a championship. Some teams land a player that is good further down the road.
Some teams are the Memphis Grizzlies.
This Year's Last-Second Tussle
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This year at 3 p.m. on Feb. 24, teams will longer be allowed to make trades.
Some big names in the rumor mill are Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. As each hour passes, a new scenario is formed in which one of these standouts end up on a contender.
To my knowledge, the most recent rumor is that Carmelo may go to the Lakers. Also, it is rumored that the Knicks are making a run at Howard.
Regardless of the latest story, everything is simply talk until the trade is official. But we can talk about the deadline deals of the past.
Before a blockbuster move happens this year, let's rank the biggest deals near the deadline in years past.
**This includes trades done near the deadline, not just ones on the exact day.
15. 2009-10: Wizards Get Josh Howard, Mavericks Get Caron Butler
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Washington Wizards add: Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton
Dallas Mavericks add: Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood
This trade has yet to produce any significant results because it is so recent. The Mavericks were surprisingly willing to part with Howard, whose numbers have tailed off since 2009, to add Butler.
Howard has done very little for the Wizards thus far. He could easily revert to the form he had in 2007-08, a season in which he fell just shy of averaging 20 points while grabbing a career-high seven boards per contest.
Butler was meshing well with Mavs until he went down with a long-term knee injury early in January. Butler's injury threatens Dallas' title chances, a tribute to his value.
Drew Gooden never played a game for the Wizards, as they traded him almost immediately and received Al Thornton.
If Howard doesn't return to form, the Wizards really let a great player in Butler go for almost nothing.
14. 2009-10: T-Mac to the Knicks
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New York Knicks add: Tracy McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez
Sacramento Kings add: Carl Landry, Larry Hughes and Joey Dorsey
Houston Rockets add: Kevin Martin, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, Hilton Armstrong, 2012 first-round pick (NY) and rights to exchange 2011 first-round pick with NY
The big name in this trade is McGrady, but that—like McGrady—is in the past.
Looking at this trade now, the Rockets and Kings are clear winners. McGrady is now in Detroit and the Knicks don't really miss him.
Sacramento has a great young forward in Landry. He averaged 18 points in 28 starts after the trade. He hasn't been able to match that production that season, but DeMarcus Cousins is to blame for that.
Kevin Martin is leading the Rockets with 23.5 points per game this season because of a sweet jump shot.
T-Mac may have been the headline of this deal, but the Rockets were right in letting him go.
13. 2007-08: Kidd Joins Dirk in Dallas
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Dallas Mavericks add: Jason Kidd, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright
New Jersey Nets add: Devin Harris, DaSagana Diop, Maurice Ager, Keith Van Horn, Trenton Hassell and first-round draft picks in 2008 and 2010
The Mavs knew that Jason Kidd was on the down-slope of his career, but they also knew that they wanted to win immediately. They felt they were a player away from a title so they sought out Kidd.
Nowitzki wasn't getting younger and after losing in the 2006 NBA Finals, they were poised to set up Dirk for a championship. They have yet to make another trip to the Finals thanks to the Lakers.
This season was off to a great start, but with the aforementioned injury to Butler and Kidd really showing his age, it looks like Kidd won't bring a title to Texas.
On the Nets' end, Harris is a great point guard, but has no team to support him. The Nets are having a very hard time getting an All-Star to New Jersey with just money.
This trade was huge in 2008, but it didn't serve the purpose it was meant to.
12. 2004-05: C-Webb And A.I. Try to Prove They Can Still Play
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Philadelphia 76ers add: Chris Webber, Matt Barnes and Michael Bradley
Sacramento Kings add: Brian Skinner, Kenny Thomas and Corliss Williamson
Yet another attempt at pairing up two aging stars for a title run falls shy.
Webber took a while to adjust to his new role. He started striding towards the end of the season and the 76ers made the playoffs. However, they fell to the Eastern Conference champion Pistons in the opening round.
Webber had one more good statistical season with the 76ers, but they missed the playoffs. He would later move to the Pistons, where he would come off the bench.
The Kings were merely ridding themselves of a big contract and received no comparable players in the deal.
11. 2004-05: Baron Returns to California
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Golden State Warriors add: Baron Davis
New Orleans Hornets add: Dale Davis and Speedy Claxton
Since leaving UCLA in 1999, Baron Davis had always desired a return to California. He was granted that wish at the 2005 deadline. Despite being a great player for the Hornets, New Orleans hoped to dump Davis' large salary and rid the city of his attitude.
Davis joined Jason Richardson in a scary backcourt, but didn't have any immediate results. The Warriors squeaked into the 2007 playoffs with a 42-40 record.
They faced the 67-15 Mavericks in the first round, but behind former Mavericks coach Don Nelson, they defeated the Mavs in six games in one of the biggest upsets in playoff history.
Although they lost in the next round, Davis finished the postseason averaging 25.3 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game.
It's nearly impossible to get better production than that from a point guard.
10. 1992-93: Dominique Leaves Atlanta
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Los Angeles Clippers add: Dominique Wilkins and 1994 first-round draft pick
Atlanta Hawks add: Danny Manning
Dominique Wilkins, "The Human Highlight Film," was traded after over 11 seasons of incredible production for the Atlanta Hawks. At the time of the trade, the Hawks were 36-16 and upper management thought Danny Manning would be a better fit to win a championship.
The Hawks fell in the conference semifinals and Manning averaged 15.7 points and 6.5 rebounds as a Hawk. He left for Phoenix at the season's conclusion.
Wilkins fared much better, averaging 29.1 points and seven rebounds as a Clipper.
Many people would have liked to see how the Hawks would have done with Wilkins in the latter stages, but what's in the past is in the past.
The Hawks disrespected Wilkins a bit with this move, and they reaped no benefits from it.
9. 1996-97: Mark Jackson Returns to the Pacers
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Indiana Pacers add: Mark Jackson and LaSalle Thompson
Denver Nuggets add: Vincent Askew, Eddie Johnson and 1997 and 1998 second-round draft picks
With Mark Jackson from 1990-1996, the Pacers were legitimate contenders in the East. After they traded him for Jalen Rose before the 1996-97 season, they struggled.
Sitting at 10th at the halfway point of the season, the Pacers returned Jackson to Indiana at the deadline. The Pacers still missed the playoffs that season, but would return to form the next season.
The 1999-2000 Pacers raced to the NBA Finals with Jackson at point guard, but fell to the mighty Lakers in six games. The title was the first of three consecutive for the Lakers.
Neither of the Nuggets' acquisitions made a difference for them and the picks didn't amount to anything mentionable.
Mark Jackson was clearly the perfect point guard for the Pacers at the time; luckily, Indiana was able to bring him back.
8. 2002-03: Ray Allen Is Seattle-Bound
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Seattle SuperSonics add: Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie, Ronald Murray and 2003 first-round draft pick
Milwaukee Bucks add: Gary Payton and Desmond Mason
Payton finished the season with the Bucks before darting to LA to try to win a title—but failed. Mason had two-and-a-half productive seasons with the Bucks before being traded and slowly fading out of the league.
The big story was the relocation of arguably the game's best three-point shooter. The Sonics used the acquired pick on Luke Ridnour. He and Allen teamed up with Rashard Lewis. Allen and Lewis had their best years in Seattle, but never got further than the Western Conference semifinals.
As Allen began to age, the Sonics traded him to Boston where he would succeed as a role player.
The Sonics drafted Kevin Durant, moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder and are now one of the most exciting teams in the West.
Allen was a great addition, but the Sonics also knew when to get rid of him to move forward.
7. 1998-99: Cassell to Milwaukee and Much, Much More
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Milwaukee Bucks add: Sam Cassell, Chris Gatling and Paul Grant
New Jersey Nets add: Stephon Marbury, Elliot Perry, Chris Carr and Bill Curley
Minnesota Timberwolves add: Terrell Brandon, Brian Evans and future draft considerations
Terrell Brandon had his best years in Minnesota. Marbury looked destined for stardom in New Jersey—but "Starbury" would have a disappointing career.
This trade is huge because of Cassell's influence in Milwaukee. The '"Big Three" composed of Cassell, Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson were a solid force in the East until Ray Allen was sent to Seattle.
The Bucks fell to the 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals in Game 7 in 2001. Although they likely wouldn't have beaten the Lakers, who lost one game all postseason, it would have been the Bucks' third NBA Finals appearance.
Back in the early century, this three-man combo was one of the best the NBA had to offer. The trade deadline made it happen.
6. 1987-88: Kevin Johnson Addition Leads to Suns Turnaround
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Phoenix Suns add: Kevin Johnson, Tyrone Corbin, Mark West, 1988 first- and second-round draft picks and 1989 second-round draft pick
Cleveland Cavaliers add: Larry Nance, Mike Sanders and 1988 second-round draft pick
The addition of Kevin Johnson is only a small part of the story. With the 1988 first-round pick, the Suns took Dan Majerle. Along with a couple of other additions, the Suns started a string of 13 straight playoff appearances in 1987-88.
After crippling defeats in the postseason, the Suns added Charles Barkley in 1992. In 1993, they made it to the Finals, losing to Jordan's Bulls. The Finals appearance was the second and last for the Suns, who have never won a title.
It may be called "The Barkley Era," but it was the move for Kevin Johnson that got the Suns headed in the right direction.
5. 1992-93: Jazz Find a Third Option in Hornacek
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Utah Jazz add: Jeff Hornacek, Sean Green and 1995 or 1996 second-round draft pick
Philadelphia 76ers add: Jeff Malone and 1994 first-round draft pick
Never has a player gone to a new place and fit so well.
Jeff Hornacek entered Utah and immediately helped give Stockton and Malone another scoring option. Hornacek was an incredible shooter and a great teammate to the duo, leading to a 53-29 record in their first year together.
After a couple of years of falling to the Rockets in the West, they finally made it to the NBA Finals, where they famously played the Bulls twice in a row.
Although they fell in both 1997 and 1998, they were still a formidable squad both years.
If it wasn't for Jordan's dominance, Hornacek might have a title or two.
4. 2007-08: Shaq Joins Up-Tempo Suns
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Phoenix Suns add: Shaquille O'Neal
Miami Heat add: Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks
Any time the most dominant force of his generation is moved midseason, it's monumental.
Shaq may have not been the best fit for the Suns, but it was still one of the most influential moves at the deadline the NBA will ever experience.
Shaq had a 45-point game with the Suns, but they never won a playoff series with "The Diesel."
Once again, the move didn't really do either team any good, but there are few moves that draw the attention from the press, NBA players and coaches that this did.
If Shaq moves—so does the world.
3. 2003-04: Sheed in Detroit Helps End Lakers Run
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Detroit Pistons add: Rasheed Wallace and Mike James
Boston Celtics add: Lindsay Hunter, Chucky Atkins and 2004 first-round pick (DET)
Atlanta Hawks add: Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura and a first-round pick (DET)
The picks involved in this trade were used by Boston on Tony Allen and by Atlanta and Josh Smith. Both players have become better than average NBA players.
The Pistons, however, added Rasheed for one reason: to win a NBA championship.
The years following the trade proved to be very strong for the Detroit Pistons, with another trip the following year to the NBA Finals. Although they lost to the Spurs, the trade made them the top team in the East.
This deadline move is so high because it served its purpose perfectly.
2. 2000-01: Sixers Add Defensive MVP Mutombo
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Philadelphia 76ers add: Dikembe Mutombo and Roshown McLeod
Atlanta Hawks add: Theo Ratliff, Toni Kukoc, Nazr Mohammed and Pepe Sanchez
With Iverson at his best in the 2000-01 season and Ratliff injured, the 76ers needed to make a move. They knew if they were able to escape the Eastern Conference, they'd need a big man to compete with Tim Duncan or Shaquille O'Neal.
Iverson won the MVP, Mutombo was awarded his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award and the 76ers made it to the NBA Finals. They were met by the Lakers and O'Neal, who had yet to lose a game in the playoffs thus far.
The 76ers were able to take one game in the series, but ultimately lost. Without Mutombo, they would have been absolutely trampled and Iverson wouldn't have been given a fair shot at a title.
How is this higher than Rasheed to Detroit?
Mutombo was a bigger influence on the run than Rasheed was. Without Mutombo, the 76ers don't even make the Finals. Without Rasheed, the Pistons could have still won the title.
1. 2007-08: Lakers Get Pau
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Los Angeles Lakers add: Pau Gasol
Memphis Grizzlies add: Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, draft rights to Marc Gasol and 2008 and 2010 first-round picks
Never has such a good player been added and made such a difference. Kobe Bryant, whether he would admit it or not, needed a formidable center/power forward to get another title.
Who knew it would mean two.
Since the Lakers added Pau, they have been on top of the league and Pau continues to get better. With two NBA titles under their belt, they look for yet another Phil Jackson three-peat this season.
Pau made a bigger influence than any other player traded near the deadline in NBA history.
Do you agree?