NBA trades have often set organizations back 10 years in progress while sending the other team to pick up bright shinny rings each summer on a regular basis. Sometimes you hardly even notice these moves when they occur, but in retrospect you can't fathom the rationale.
Shaquille O'Neal's trade to the Phoenix Suns has conjured up some very strong opinions and many believe it has the potential to make this list in the future.
I still have mixed feelings. Phoenix is taking a considerable risk that Shaq has some healthy playoff games left, but if the Diesel is motivated by winning basketball this could very well end up in another NBA Championship and potentially putting the trade below for inverse reasoning.
With this big blockbuster in mind, here the 10 NBA trades that turned into the biggest busts of all-time.
1. 1996—Hornets traded Kobe Bryant to the Lakers for Vlade Divac.
If you judge success based on the ability to consume two cartons of cigarettes a day and still function athletically, then maybe you don't view this trade as being all that lopsided. On top of Vlade's remarkable lungs, he only played two seasons for then the Charlotte Hornets averaging 11.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg. Kobe on the other hand has averaged 24.8 ppg so far during his Lakers career. He has won three NBA titles, is a 10-time All-Star, nine-time All-NBA, two-time NBA scoring champion, and has several good years left.
2. 1980 Draft—Celtics traded their first overall for Robert Parrish and the Warriors' third pick in exchange for Joe Barry Carroll and Ricky Brown. Boston eventually chose Kevin McHale with that third pick.
I'm judging most of these worst trades by the championship success of those players that changed hands. This is a tricky one to add as it wasn't a direct trade, but regardless, Golden State not only botched on Parrish but they also missed badly on their draft choice. Parrish and McHale would go on to win three NBA titles with the Celtics and had 16 All-Star game appearances between the two. Golden State is, well, Golden State.
3. 1998—Mavericks traded Robert Traylor to the Bucks for Dirk Nowitzki.
Who knows how Nowitzki would have turned out playing for the Bucks all these years, but this remains one of the worst draft day trades of all time. Nowitzki just racked up his first NBA MVP award to add to his seven All-NBA teams and seven All-Star appearances.
Meanwhile, "Tractor" Traylor was recently sentenced to three years probationfor his role in doing money laundering for a big-time drug trafficker. But hey, at least he's still playing professionally in Puerto Rico. Cockfights are better than Dallas.
4. 1992—76ers traded Charles Barkley to the Suns for Andrew Lang, Tim Perry and Jeff Hornacek.
If it weren't for Michael Jordan, this trade could have appeared far worse. Sir Charles' Suns teams were good enough to win at least one title during their time. This was a necessary trade for Philadelphia, but they should have demanded more. The best aspect was a sharp-shooting Hornacek, whom they quickly moved to Utah soon thereafter. The 76ers franchise is one that should never be perceived as a role model when it comes to trading.
5. 2004—Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Heat for Brian Grant, Lamar Odom and Caron Butler.
We'll just keep this one simple. Shaq won a title in Miami; Grant, Odom and Butler watched a lot of O'Neal in the comforts of their own home. Butler is becoming a stud, which puts more of the onus on the Lakers decisions after this move. In the end, still not a trade that remotely measured up.
6. 1968—76ers traded Wilt Chamberlain to Lakers for Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark, and Darrall Imhoff.
Someone tell me something Chambers, Clark and Imhoff accomplished after this transaction. You can also factor in the significance of this trade in terms of the NBA's popularity on and off the court. Wilt was a big draw in Los Angeles and in the bedroom.
7. 2000—Pistons traded Grant Hill to the Magic for Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins.
What's interesting here we thought this was a horribly lopsided trade in 2000. It remains one in 2008, but for entirely different reasons. Hill would battle through inevitable injuries with the Magic, while Big Ben's career blossomed in Detroit culminating in a 2004 NBA Championship.
8. 2006—Trail Blazers traded the rights to Randy Foye to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the rights to Brandon Roy.
I'm doing some projecting with this fairly recent draft day trade. It probably doesn't belong this high yet, but it'll soon compete with the seven debacles above it. Roy will win at least one NBA title in Portland and represent Trailblazers basketball at many All-Star games to come. Foye will occasionally hit jumpers in Minnesota, likely get traded to a new destination with the same results.
9. 2001—Bulls traded Elton Brand to the Clippers for Tyson Chandler (and Brian Skinner).
I may be slamming my team a little harder than necessary, after all Chandler has developed into a decent complimentary player. But we're talking about Elton Brand, a great player whose talents we might be forgetting about this year while he recovers from a bad Achilles tendon injury.
Since Brand left, the Bulls have failed to find a scoring presence in the paint which has kept them from gaining any resemblance of success.
10. 2001—Rockets traded Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins, and Brandon Armstrong to the Nets for Eddie Griffin.
If this was Jason Collins for Eddie Griffin you could have made a case for the trade to be among the contenders. Throw in Richard Jefferson and you've got one of the worst ever.
Also Receiving a Vote
Hawks trade Dominique Wilkins to the Clippers for 22 games of Danny Manning; Knicks trade two 1st round draft picks for Eddie Curry; Lakers trade Caron Butler to the Wizards for Kwame Brown (will only get worse with time); Warriors trade Mitch Richmond to Kings for Billy Owens; New Orleans Hornets trade Baron Davis to Golden State for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis; Orlando Magic trade Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and Kelvin Cato
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