The NBA's 10 Worst Moves of All Time: What Were They Thinking?

Mike B.Correspondent IJanuary 3, 2010

Throughout NBA history, many general managers have made a boatload of stupid decisions. They've either drafted a bust, pulled the trigger on a foolish trade, or signed a player to a ridiculous cap-killing contract.    

Of course, those GMs certainly wouldn't have made those moves if they knew the outcome.

Without further ado, here is the list of simply the 10 dumbest moves that have ever taken place in the NBA.

10. New York Knicks Hire Isiah Thomas as President of Operations (2003)

As a player, Thomas was one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. However, he was absolutely awful as an executive.

It seemed as if he tried his hardest to make the Knicks one of the worst franchises in the league.  He loved to trade for players with bloated contracts and had a passion for signing non-stars to superstar-type contracts.  

9. Los Angeles Clippers Draft Michael Olowokandi with First Overall Pick (1998)

The Clippers were blown away with Olowokandi, the center from Pacific who was touted as the "Next Hakeem Olajuwon."

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Olowokandi turned out to be one of the biggest busts ever as he posted career averages of 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds.

Just think, the Clips could have used the pick on the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, or even Mike Bibby.

8. Milwaukee Bucks Trade Dirk Nowitzki to Dallas Mavericks for Robert Traylor (1998)

What a horrifying trade for the Bucks. They deal Nowitzki, arguably the greatest European, for "Tractor" Traylor, one of the biggest busts of all time. 

Dirk won a MVP and was named to several All-Star teams, while Traylor played a few forgettable seasons in the league.

7. Seattle SuperSonics Trade Scottie Pippen to Chicago Bulls for Olden Polynice (1987)  

Seattle selected Pippen with the fifth overall pick in the '87 draft and immediately dealt him for Polynice, who was the eighth overall pick.

Pippen emerged as a spectacular defender and teamed with Michael Jordan to lead the Bulls to an astounding six titles in the 1990s.

Polynice failed to average double figures in either points or rebounds over his 15 NBA seasons.

6. Golden State Warriors trade Robert Parish and Kevin McHale to Boston Celtics for Joe Barry Carroll and Rickey Brown (1980)

Boston sent Barry Carroll, the first overall pick of the draft, and Brown, the 13th overall pick, to Golden State for Parish and McHale, the third overall selection.

Carroll put up decent numbers and Brown became a bust.

However, Parish and McHale went on to be Hall-of-Famers as they teamed with Larry Bird to form arguably the greatest front line ever.

5. New York Knicks Sign Allan Houston for Six Years, $100 Million (2001)

Houston was one of the league's deadliest shooters at the time. However, he was never worth anywhere close to $100 million.

A few seasons after signing the massive contract, he unfortunately became hampered with injuries and eventually retired in 2005.

4. Charlotte Hornets Trade Kobe Bryant to Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac (1996)

Then-Lakers GM Jerry West made a brilliant decision by dealing Divac, a solid center, for the unknown Bryant, a 17-year-old high school kid.

Bryant became a perennial MVP candidate and helped lead the Lakers to four NBA championships, while Divac lasted only two seasons in Charlotte.

3. Milwaukee Bucks Trade Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley to Los Angeles Lakers for Dave Meyers, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters, and Elmore Smith (1975)

Kareem requested to be traded to either his hometown of New York or Los Angeles, where he played his college ball at UCLA. The Bucks granted the All-Star center his wish and dealt him to the L.A. Lakers.

Abdul-Jabbar later teamed with Earvin "Magic" Johnson and helped the "Showtime" Lakers capture five titles.  

And who in the world is Junior Bridgeman? Cool name though.

2. St. Louis Hawks Trade Bill Russell to Boston Celtics for Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley (1956)

When the Hawks drafted Russell and shipped him out of town, they had no idea they were basically giving the Celtics a dynasty.

Russell emerged as perhaps the greatest defender of all time and led the Celtics to an unheard-of 11 championships.

Hawks fans are probably still upset about that trade.

1. Portland Trail Blazers Draft Sam Bowie with Second Overall Pick (1984)

The Blazers already had a talented shooting guard in Clyde Drexler, so they decided to take the "promising" center out of Kentucky. You know the story. Bowie became perhaps the biggest bust in sports history.

Sadly, the Blazers passed on future Hall-of-Famers Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton.

Honorable mention:

- Washington Wizards Draft Kwame Brown

- Detroit Pistons Draft Darko Milicic

- Washington Wizards Trade Chris Webber to Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe

- Philadelphia 76ers Trade Charles Barkley to Phoenix Suns for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry

- San Antonio Spurs Trade Dennis Rodman to Chicago Bulls for Will Perdue


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