NBA Trades: The 20 Most Uneven Deals in the Last Decade
With one phone call and a subsequent signing of a dotted line, the path of a franchise can be forever changed.
While many expect those involved in trade talks to be confined to the "talented, but not a star" level, that misconception is often proven false. After all, it's the star power of a trade that often defines the quality, whether positive or negative.
While most trades end up with an exchange of equal qualities, not all are mutually beneficial. In fact, there are at least 20 from this past generation that fit the bill as lopsided.
Here they are.
20. Indiana Pacers Trade Peja Stojakovic for Andrew Betts
Indiana Pacers Receive: Andrew Betts
New Orleans Hornets Receive: Peja Stojakovic
Considering Peja Stojakovic had four double-digit scoring seasons with the Hornets and Andrew Betts never played a game in the NBA, I'd call this the perfect way to start off the lopsided list.
While Stojakovic was never able to duplicate the success he had in Sacramento, he remained a consistent knockdown shooter who gave a young Chris Paul quite a perimeter weapon to deal with. He also added playoff experience to one of the youngest teams in the NBA.
As for Betts, the British big man never stepped foot on an NBA floor. While he remains active internationally, nothing he does overseas can help the Indiana Pacers.
19. Denver Nuggets Acquire Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson and Nene for Antonio McDyess
Denver Nuggets Receive: Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson and Nene Hilario
New York Knicks Receive: Antonio McDyess and 2003 Second-Round Draft Pick
As talented and timeless as Antonio McDyess may be, giving up a budding star, Nene, elite shot blocker, Marcus Camby, and one of the greatest facilitators of all-time, Jackson, was just ridiculous.
While Camby, Jackson and Nene are all departed from the Nuggets locker room, both Camby and Nene gave the Nuggets long-term contributions. Nene wowed Denver crowds for 10 years with his dunking and athletic ability, while Camby blocked shots for six years as a Nugget.
Meanwhile, Antonio McDyess played 18 games as a Knick before being traded to the Phoenix Suns.
18. New Orleans Hornets Trade Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul and Two Future Second-Round Draft Picks
New Orleans Hornets Receive: Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon and Unprotected First-Round Draft Pick via Minnesota
The Clippers get Chris Paul while the New Orleans Hornets get a shooting guard who has barely played, a small forward who can't produce, a disgruntled center and a draft pick. Oh, and both the shooting guard and center are set to leave at season's end.
Don't forget that the Clippers would have gotten better value from the Los Angeles Lakers had they taken that trade.
Good job, David Stern.
17. New Jersey Nets Trade Kenyon Martin for Draft Picks
Denver Nuggets Receive: Kenyon Martin
New Jersey Nets Receive: Three Future First-Round Draft Picks
When you first saw this deal, some believed it was lopsided in New Jersey's favor. After all, the Nuggets gave up three first-round draft picks to get K-Mart. Then again, Martin was the first-overall draft choice in 2000.
In retrospect, however, it's easy to see that the tables were turned and the lopsided nature actually favored the Denver Nuggets.
The Nets' three draft picks are all on different teams now, or no team at all. Martin, meanwhile, has developed a reputation as one of the most valuable players in the NBA.
I guess the Nets can't always be on the positive side of things...
16. Portland Trail Blazers Trade Jermaine O'Neal to the Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers Receive: Jermaine O'Neal and Joe Kleine
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Dale Davis
In Jermaine O'Neal's first year with the Pacers, he posted 12.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. In Dale Davis' first year with Portland, he averaged 7.2 points and 7.5 rebounds. While Davis spent many years as a reliable big man, O'Neal took off the following season by posting 19.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
Over the next four years, O'Neal became recognized as one of the best big men in the NBA. His four consecutive 20-point seasons made him as popular as any player, as did his reaching of at least two blocks per contest in nine consecutive seasons.
While Dale Davis can't be considered a nobody, the Pacers acquiring a star in return for a role player has got to turn some heads.
15. Houston Rockets Trade Richard Jefferson for Eddie Griffin
Houston Rockets Receive: Eddie Griffin
New Jersey Nets Receive: Brandon Armstrong, Jason Collins and Richard Jefferson
Eddie Griffin's tragic career needs no coverage, nor does his early passing. At this point, I'd just like to leave it at this.
The Houston Rockets traded for a player who produced at a much lower level than he who they traded out, Richard Jefferson. Jason Collins is also a reliable player who, despite never reaching stardom, remains active in the NBA.
14. Orlando Magic Trade Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Receive: Juwan Howard, Reece Gaines, Tracy McGrady and Tyronn Lue
Orlando Magic Receive: Cuttino Mobley, Kelvin Cato and Steve Francis
On paper, this deal is alright. McGrady and Francis were both All-Star-caliber players, and Cuttino Mobley was deadly from beyond the arc. Upon seeing it all pan out, this was one of the most lopsided trades of the decade.
Tracy McGrady would continue his scoring tear, nearly leading the league in scoring on multiple occasions to follow up his two scoring titles in Orlando. He was also a consistent All-Star.
Over in Orlando, Steve Francis played a year and a half before leaving. Cuttino Mobley played 23 games with the Magic. Kelvin Cato, meanwhile, underachieved for 85 games before being dealt to Detroit.
13. Chicago Bulls Trade LaMarcus Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas
Chicago Bulls Receive: Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: LaMarcus Aldridge and 2007 Second-Round Draft Pick
Considering Tyrus Thomas is getting benched by the Bobcats and LaMarcus Aldridge was selected to his first All-Star team in 2012, it's pretty clear the direction this trade went in.
12. Lakers Trade Caron Butler for Kwame Brown (2005)
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Kwame Brown
Washington Wizards Receive: Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins
Must much be said about any trade involving Kwame Brown?
The 2001 first-overall draft choice struggled to live up to expectations while a part of the Washington Wizards, reaching career-bests of 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Caron Butler, on the other hand, had turned his career around with the Lakers and gone for 15.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game in 2005.
And then they made the swap.
Caron Butler ended up reaching two All-Star games as a member of the Washington Wizards, posting greater than 20 points on two different occasions. He also helped lead the Wizards to two playoff appearances.
Kwame Brown, on the other hand, never topped 8.5 points or 6.5 rebounds as a Los Angeles Laker.
12. Chicago Bulls Trade Elton Brand for Tyson Chandler
Chicago Bulls Receive: Brian Skinner and Tyson Chandler
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Elton Brand
Today, one could argue that the Bulls would have actually gotten the better end of this deal. Considering Brand posted 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in each of his first two seasons with the Bulls, while Chandler proceeded to miss the 10-point and 10-rebound plateau in each of his five seasons with Chicago, it's clear who got the better end.
While most think of the Clippers as that dismal franchise that's never been good, Elton Brand actually made them watchable. In fact, he made them good! Well, good enough.
With very little around him, Elton Brand took the Clippers to the playoffs in the 2005-06 season behind his 24.7 points per game, as well as 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
In his other six years with the organization, he averaged at least 20 points on four different occasions. The same can be said about double-digit rebounds. He also averaged greater than two blocks in all but one season.
Tyson Chandler? Not so much...
10. Minnesota Timberwolves Trade Brandon Roy for Randy Foye
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Randy Foye
Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Roy
I'm a huge fan of Randy Foye's; I'm also well-aware that Brandon Roy's legacy will suffer from its brevity. The fact is, Portland fans know how special Brandon Roy was, and none of them would take a single glorious moment back if they could.
As evidenced by his career-defining 18-point performance in the fourth quarter of a 23-point playoff comeback against the Mavericks, Brandon Roy was something else.
Randy Foye, meanwhile, has never made the playoffs. Point proven.
9. Phoenix Suns Trade Luol Deng to Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls Receive: Luol Deng
Phoenix Suns Receive: Jackson Vroman and Future First-Round Draft Pick
As covered in a previous slide, the Suns eventually used the draft pick in this trade to select Nate Robinson...and trade him.
As for Jackson Vroman, he played a grand total of 10 games for the Phoenix Suns.
Luol Deng, meanwhile, was finally recognized for his all-around dominance in 2012 by being invited to his first career All-Star Game. The former Blue Devil's career averages of 16.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals are a good reason as to why.
In 2012, Luol Deng could help the Bulls win an NBA Championship and take this ranking to another level.
8. New York Knicks Trade It All to Acquire Eddy Curry
Chicago Bulls Receive: Jermaine Jackson, Michael Sweetney, Tim Thomas, 2006 Conditional First-Round Draft Pick, Two Future Second-Round Draft Picks and Right to Exchange a Future Draft Pick
New York Knicks Receive: Antonio Davis and Eddy Curry
For what it's worth, I think Eddy Curry's career is much too overanalyzed. After all, he averaged 19.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 2007 all while playing in 81 games. Unfortunately, his career found a bit of a downhill slope after that.
The quesiton at this point is, who really got robbed? After all, Curry and Davis weren't terrible players. Curry just happened to miss a lot of time...
And those draft picks led to LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah.
After his breakout season in 2007, Curry proceeded to play in 69 games over his final three seasons in New York. In his final two, he played a combined 10 games.
7. Phoenix Suns Trade Rajon Rondo to Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics Receive: Brian Grant, Rajon Rondo and Cash
Phoenix Suns Receive: Future First-Round Draft Pick
The Phoenix Suns have made some questionable decisions, but none more confusing than their dealing Rajon Rondo for...well, nothing.
What the Suns ended up getting in return was the 24th-overall draft pick in 2007, something Phoenix used to take Rudy Fernandez and, you got it, trade him.
Rondo, meanwhile, is an NBA Champion, perennial MVP candidate and the only player who can rival Steve Nash in assists per game. He's also a two-time first team All-Defensive Team member, with two All-Star Game appearances.
At least they have Nash...
6. Phoenix Suns Trade Two First-Round Draft Picks for a Second-Round Draft Pick
Phoenix Suns Receive: 2007 Second-Round Draft Pick
Seattle Super Sonics: Kurt Thomas and Two Future First-Round Draft Picks
This defies absolutely all logic.
As great as it is that this trade resulted in an $8.0 million trade exception for the Phoenix Suns, giving up two first-round draft picks for a second-round draft pick might be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.
Actually, it is.
One of those draft picks brought the Thunder Serge Ibaka. I bet you wish you could have that, as well as the other ridiculous trades you made, back. Don't you, Phoenix?
Oh, and in case you don't believe me that this actually happened, which I can't blame you for if you don't, check it out...
5. New Orleans Hornets Trade Baron Davis for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis
Golden State Warriors Receive: Baron Davis
New Orleans Hornets Receive: Dale Davis and Speedy Claxton
Really? I mean, really?
Forget about what Davis brought to the Warriors; how about what he gave the Hornets? Davis garnered two All-Star selections and led the Hornets to five playoff appearances.
He responded to being traded away by putting on one of the greatest playoff performances of all-time. He also led the Warriors to the first eighth seed upset of a No. 1 seed in the NBA history.
While loyal Hornets fans will argue that Davis had been injury-prone, there's no denying how great of a player he was. The evidence for such a claim? After Davis left, the Hornets failed to make the playoffs until Chris Paul arrived.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves Trade Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics Receive: Kevin Garnett
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and two 2009 first-round draft picks
Long story short, the Boston Celtics ended up with a perennial championship contender, and the Timberwolves...well, they only have one of the players involved in this trade on their roster: 2009 first-round draft pick Wayne Ellington.
That's seven players for one player, and the Timberwolves only held onto one guy. One. Kevin Garnett has more NBA Finals appearances than that.
3. Memphis Grizzlies Trade Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers For...Who?
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Pau Gasol
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittenton, Kwame Brown, Marc Gasol, 2008 and 2010 First-Round Draft Picks
We now know who this enigmatic Marc Gasol fellow is, but before his recent emergence, the entire world knew one thing to be true: The Grizzlies got robbed blind.
As great as Marc Gasol has turned out to be, it's hard to measure his contributions next to older brother Pau's. After all, it's Pau who now has two NBA Championships and three of his four All-Star appearances since joining the Lakers.
Also, what ever happened to McKie, Crittenton, Kwame Brown and those draft picks?
Well, McKie is retired, Crittenton is heading to jail and Brown is out for the rest of the season with an injury...for another team.
As for those draft picks, they brought the Grizzlies Donte Greene and Greivis Vazquez, who both play for different teams now.
Marc is doing damage control.
2. Toronto Raptors Trade Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets
New Jersey Nets Receive: Vince Carter
Toronto Raptors Receive: Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams and two first-round draft picks
While many know Vince Carter as the dunk maestro that forever rules, and ruined, the Slam Dunk Contest, others know him as one of the best players of our generation.
At one point in Carter's career, he posted 10 consecutive 20 point per game seasons. Ten.
The rest of those involved in this lopsided affair? If you can find Aaron or Eric Williams, I'll let you choose the next topic I write about.
As for Alonzo Mourning, a future Hall-of-Famer who once dominated the game of basketball, he never even put on a Toronto Raptors uniform. He was out before they could make him bare the torture.
Those draft picks also led to Joey Graham and Renaldo Balkman, two excellent defenders who currently don't have teams to play for.
Carter, on the other hand, went on to reach the NBA Finals on two separate occasions, ended up being an eight-time All-Star and won four division titles. The same division that the Toronto Raptors play in...
To throw salt on the wound, the Raptors refused to send Vince Carter to Dallas for Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash.
Worst trade of the decade? I'd say so.
1. Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat (2004)
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Brian Grant, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, 2006 First-Round Draft Pick and 2007 Second-Round Draft Pick
Miami Heat Receive: Shaquille O'Neal
Now, this is not to downgrade the talent of Caron Butler or Lamar Odom (sorry, Brian Grant), but how can you even compare the two sides without shaking your head?
Shaquille O'Neal had won three consecutive MVP awards from 2000-2002. He had also won three consecutive NBA Finals MVPs over the same span, including three NBA Championships, a scoring title and four All-NBA First Team appearances.
Caron Butler was a questionable young player who went from the All-Rookie first team to a 38 percent shooter in just two years. Lamar Odom hadn't done a thing, and Brian Grant was in his 30's and was coming off of a down season himself.
Butler and Grant left the Lakers after one year, and Odom was a role player in the Lakers' back-to-back titles over five years later. Those draft picks also resulted in Jordan Farmar and Renaldas Seibutis.
Shaq, meanwhile, won a title with Miami in his second year there.