NBA History: Ranking the 50 Most Lopsided Trades

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 5, 2011

NBA History: Ranking the 50 Most Lopsided Trades

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    Because of the NBA lockout, we can't really analyze any current trades. Instead, let's take a look back through basketball history and revisit the 50 most lopsided trades of all time. 

    From draft day trades to ones that took place in the middle of the season, countless deals have been made during the NBA's history. Trust me, not all of them are good. 

    Often times, a team gets absolutely ripped off, even if it doesn't seem like it in the moment. 

    The point of this is not to look at which trades were the worst at the moment they were made. See, we know exactly what unfolded now. We know that Scottie Pippen turned out to be a great player while Jonathan Bender was a colossal bust. 

    Keep in mind what you know when you look through these trades. All that matters is what happened as a result of them. 

50. June 5, 1981: Indiana Misses out on MJ

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    Indiana Pacers Got

    Tom Owens

    Portland Trail Blazers Got

    A 1984 first-round pick (Sam Bowie)

    Analysis

    Just to get it out of the way: Tom Owens averaged 10.5 points during the one season he spent in Indiana. Whoop-de-doo. 

    Now let's take a look at the cool hypothetical situation I'm creating here. It is worth noting that I can't justify putting this trade any higher than No. 50 because this is a ridiculous hypothetical. I just felt it needed to be included.  

    Let's say that Indiana decides not to give up a future first-round pick for a 31-year-old big man who is clearly on the decline (which, by the way, makes a lot of sense). Without the services of Owens, Indiana retains their 1984 pick. 

    Guess who's available in that draft? This guy named Michael Jordan. 

    Boom. 

    The course of basketball history is completely altered. 

49. June 30, 1994: The Clippers Make a Bad Move in the Modern Era (Surprised?)

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    Los Angeles Clippers Got

    Eric Piatkowski, Pooh Richardson and Malik Sealy

    Indiana Pacers Got

    Mark Jackson and Greg Minor

    Analysis

    Piatkowski spent the first nine seasons of his career in L.A. as a quiet and unproductive player while Richardson had a few decent seasons before declining until his retirement. Sealy managed to average double-digits during every single one of his seasons with the Clippers, but there were only three.  

    As for the Pacers haul, Jackson had an excellent three-and-a-half good years with Indiana as a perennial playoff contender. He almost averaged a double-double in points and assists during each of those years.  

48. October 18, 1976: The First Moses Malone Trade

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    Buffalo Braves Got

    Moses Malone

    Portland Trail Blazers Got

    A 1978 first-round draft pick (Rick Robey)

    Analysis

    Neither Malone nor Robey scored a single point for their new team, but still, Portland gave up an all-time great for a guy named Robey. This trade is only this low because Malone technically never did anything for the Braves. 

47. February 6, 2008: Shaq Takes His Talents Away from South Beach

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    Miami Heat Got

    Marcus Banks and Shawn Marion

    Phoenix Suns Got

    Shaquille O'Neal

    Analysis

    The Suns expected Shaq to be the missing piece and finally get Steve Nash the ring he deserves, but that was anything but the case. The Nicknamed One lasted just a season-and-a-half in the desert while putting up un-Shaq-like numbers. There were no rings on Nash's fingers at the end of O'Neal's time there either. 

    Marion meanwhile was even more productive for significantly less money. 

46. June 16, 1986: Roy Hinson for a Draft Pick

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    Philadelphia 76ers Got

    Roy Hinson 

    Cleveland Cavaliers Got

    A 1986 first-round pick (Brad Daugherty)

    Analysis

    Philly got Hinson for the worst year-and-a-half of his career (not including the final nine-game season he played with the New Jersey Nets) while Cleveland got the pick that would turn into one of the best players in franchise history. 

45. February 15, 2004: Keith Van Horn Part of a Three-Way Deal

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    Milwaukee Bucks Got

    Keith Van Horn from New York

    New York Knicks Got

    Nazr Mohammed from Atlanta and Tim Thomas from Milwaukee

    Atlanta Hawks Got

    Joel Przybilla from Milwaukee, Michael Doleac from New York and a 2005 second-round pick (Ronny Turiaf) from New York

    Analysis

    While the other two teams received a good bit of value in this deal, the Milwaukee Bucks only managed to get 58 games out of Van Horn. Those games weren't even played at a very high level compared to his days in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York. 

44. August 15, 1980: Dunn Becomes Drexler

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    Denver Nuggets Got

    T.R. Dunn and a 1983 first-round pick (Howard Carter)

    Portland Trail Blazers Got

    A 1983 first-round pick (Clyde Drexler) and a 1984 second-round pick (Steve Colter)

    Analysis

    T.R. Dunn was not very good. Clyde the Glide was. 

43. July 14, 2004: Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant Split Up

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    Los Angeles Lakers Got

    Caron Butler, Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, a 2006 first-round pick (Jordan Farmar) and a 2007 second-round pick (Renaldas Seibutis)

    Miami Heat Got

    Shaquille O'Neal

    Analysis

    Despite the fact that the Lakers needed to split up Kobe Bryant and Shaq, one would think that they could have gotten a bit more in return here. O'Neal became the missing piece in Miami's championship puzzle while only Odom has been productive for the Lakers. 

42. November 3, 2008: Allen Iverson Flops with Detroit

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    Detroit Pistons Got

    Allen Iverson

    Denver Nuggets Got

    Chauncey Billups, Cheikh Samb and Antonio McDyess

    Analysis

    While Iverson spent one season in Detroit as just a shell of his old, high-octane self, Chauncey Billups spent not much longer in Denver, but was a crucial part of a few playoff runs. 

41. October 30, 1980: Washington and Whitehead Usher in the Dallas Future

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    Dallas Mavericks Got

    Bill Robinzine, a 1983 first-round pick (Derek Harper) and a 1986 first-round pick (Roy Tarpley)

    Cleveland Cavaliers Got

    Richard Washington and Jerome Whitehead

    Analysis

    Cleveland made a pretty big investment by giving up their future for Washington and Whitehead, neither of which panned out. With the future they gave up, Dallas capitalized by hitting with both first round picks. Harper and Tarpley both enjoyed successful careers with the Mavs. 

40. February 24, 2005: Baron Davis Leaves for Golden State

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    Golden State Warriors Got

    Baron Davis

    New Orleans Hornets Got

    Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis

    Analysis

    Davis wasn't an All-Star in California, but he was a top-tier point guard and incredibly fun to watch. Claxton started six games over two seasons for the Hornets and Davis was waived five days later. 

39. August 1, 1999: Davis for Bender

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    Toronto Raptors Got

    Antonio Davis

    Indiana Pacers Got

    Jonathan Bender

    Analysis

    Once Davis was a member of the Pacers, he suddenly improved drastically. He'd only hit double-digits in scoring over the course of a season once before, but suddenly he did it every year. 11.5 points per game was the absolute worst seasonal scoring average he had during his four full seasons with the Raptors. Bender on the other hand was absolutely terrible. 

38. June 27, 2001: Elton Brand and Tyson Chandler Swap Teams

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    Chicago Bulls Got

    Tyson Chandler and Brian Skinner

    Los Angeles Clippers Got

    Elton Brand

    Analysis

    Elton Brand was an incredibly productive low-post player in Los Angeles for seven seasons, even making two All-Star squads. Brian Skinner was immediately traded for Charles Oakley and a 2002 second-round draft pick that would become Jason Jennings, neither of which helped the Bulls at all. Chandler meanwhile spent five years in Chi-town but they were the least productive seasons of his career.  

37. May 14, 1998: Chris Webber Joins the Sacramento Kings

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    Sacramento Kings Got

    Chris Webber

    Washington Wizards Got

    Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe

    Analysis

    Richmond was clearly on the decline as soon as he arrived in Washington while Thorpe only started 38 fairly productive games. On the other hand, Webber would make four All-Star teams in his six years with the Kings.  

36. January 25, 2006: Peja Stojakovic and Ron Artest Swap Teams

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    Sacramento Kings Got

    Ron Artest

    Indiana Pacers Got

    Peja Stojakovic

    Analysis

    The Indiana Pacers almost had to trade Artest after the brawl with the Detroit Pistons, but they could have gotten more in return. While Artest went on to play at a high level in Sacramento, Stojakovic lasted less than a year before he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets for Andrew Betts. 

35. June 27, 2001: Richard Jefferson Moves on Draft Day

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    New Jersey Nets Got

    Richard Jefferson, Brandon Armstrong and Jason Colliins

    Houston Rockets Got 

    Eddie Griffin

    Analysis

    The Rockets' prized draft-day acquisition in 2001 was Eddie Griffin, who would spend just two mediocre seasons in Houston while Jefferson became a very valuable member of the Nets for seven seasons. 

34. June 29, 2004: T-Mac Leaves Orlando for Houston

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    Houston Rockets Got

    Kelvin Cato, Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley

    Orlando Magic Got

    Tracy McGrady, Reece Gains, Juwan Howard and Tyron Lue

    Analysis

    McGrady was productive in Houston, but he kept finding himself wearing a suit on the bench thanks to some random injury. Still though, he made three All-Star teams and gave the Rockets a legitimate superstar. Orlando meanwhile got one-and-a-half seasons out of Francis, just 23 games from Mobley and only one season from Cato, who wasn't any good anyway. 

33. July 15, 2004: Kenyon Martin for a Draft Haul

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    Denver Nuggets Got

    Kenyon Martin

    New Jersey Nets Got

    A 2005 first-round pick (Joey Graham), a 2006 first-round pick (Renaldo Balkman) and a 2006 first-round pick (Marcus Williams)

    Analysis

    Martin was still a very successful player with the Denver Nuggets, even though he wasn't at quite the same level that he was in Jersey. But Graham, Balkman and Williams have combined to do just about nothing during their time in the NBA. 

32. June 28, 2006: The Rhyming Swap of Roy and Foye

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    Minnesota Timberwolves Got

    Randy Foye

    Portland Trail Blazers Got

    Brandon Roy

    Analysis

    This trade could have been even worse if it wasn't for Roy's bad knees, but it's still awful, for Minnesota at least. Foye has been a so-so player while Roy has been a superstar so far in his career. 

31. June 28, 2006: LaMarcus Aldridge Swaps Teams on Draft Day

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    Portland Trail Blazers Got

    LaMarcus Aldridge and a 2007 second-round pick (Demetris Nichols)

    Chicago Bulls Got

    Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa

    Analysis

    Tyrus Thomas has done nothing in the NBA of note while LaMarcus Aldridge is a budding superstar and was an All-Star snub last season. This one is only going to get worse as Aldridge continues to put together productive seasons. 

30. July 12, 2006: Peja Stojakovic Part 2

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    New Orleans Hornets Got

    Peja Stojakovic

    Indiana Pacers Got

    Andrew Betts

    Analysis

    Despite the fact that he was well past his prime, Peja Stojakovic still managed to average in double-figures each season that he was in New Orleans. Betts never played in the NBA. 

29. July 9, 2009: Hedo Turkoglu Hates Toronto

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    Toronto Raptors Got

    Hedo Turkoglu from Orlando and Devean George and Antoine Wright from Dallas

    Dallas Mavericks Got

    Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai and Shawn Marion from Toronto

    Memphis Grizzlies Got

    Jerry Stackhouse and cash from Dallas and a 2016 second-round pick from Toronto

    Orlando Magic Got

    Cash from Dallas and Toronto

    Analysis

    Toronto gave up cash, two solid players in Humphries and Marion and got almost nothing in return. Turkoglu was a great player before he went across the border to Toronto and decided he hated it there. George and Wright have been anything but great. 

28. August 2, 2005: Caron Butler Joins Gilbert Arenas in the Nation's Capitol

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    Washington Wizards Got

    Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins

    Los Angeles Lakers Got

    Kwame Brown and Laron Profit

    Analysis

    While Butler became a star in D.C., even increasing his scoring average to over 20 points per game, Brown struggled mightily on the other side of the country. But does Brown struggling really come as a surprise to you? I have no idea how the Lakers thought this was a good idea.  

27. June 27, 1983: DJ Goes to Boston

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    Boston Celtics Got

    Dennis Johnson, a 1983 first-round pick (Greg Kite) and a 1983 third-round pick (Winfred King)

    Phoenix Suns Got

    Rick Robey, a 1983 second-round pick (Rod Foster) and a 1983 second-round pick (Paul Williams)

    Analysis

    Williams never even made it to the NBA while Foster and Robey were simply terrible for the Phoenix Suns. Despite the fact that he was past his prime, DJ still managed to be a crucial part of two championship-winning teams in Boston. 

26. February 20, 2003: The Glove Becomes a Buck

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    Milwaukee Bucks Got

    Gary Payton and Desmond Mason

    Seattle SuperSonics Got

    Ray Allen, Ronald Murray, Kevin Ollie and a 2003 first-round pick (Luke Ridnour)

    Analysis

    Payton played 28 games for his new team before departing for the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency while Mason played two-and-a-half seasons with the Bucks. Allen spent the latter days of his prime with the SuperSonics and remained a star. 

25. August 3, 2000: Hill for Wallace Doesn't Work out as Expected

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    Orlando Magic Got

    Grant Hill

    Detroit Pistons Got

    Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace

    Analysis

    Four of Grant Hill's six seasons in Orlando were cut drastically short by injuries as the former superstar fell from grace. Meanwhile, Big Ben was named Defensive Player of the Year during four of his five seasons with the Pistons and Atkins had a few productive years. 

24. April 21, 1970: A Declining Robertson Still Trumps Paul and Robinson

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    Milwaukee Bucks Got

    Oscar Robertson

    Cincinnati Royals Got

    Charlie Paulk and Flynn Robinson

    Analysis

    Even though The Big O was on the tail end of his career, he still put together four very good seasons in Milwaukee. Robertson was selected to two All-Star teams as a Buck and helped the franchise win a championship in 1971. 

    As for Paulk and Robinson, neither of them did much at all after the trade. And that's being generous. 

23. September 25, 1997: The Trade That Doomed Seattle

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    Seattle SuperSonics Got

    Vin Baker from Milwaukee

    Milwaukee Bucks Got

    Terrell Brandon, Tyrone Hill and a 1998 first-round pick (Pat Garrity) from Cleveland 

    Cleveland Cavaliers Got

    Shawn Kemp from Seattle and Sherman Douglas from Milwaukee

    Analysis

    Kemp had refused to play for the SuperSonics during the upcoming 1997-1998 season because the Seattle management had refused to up his subpar salary and instead offered Jim McIlvaine a five-year, $35 million deal. The blockbuster trade ensued and Vin Baker was brought in. Due to alcohol problems, Baker was reduced to nothingness rather quickly. 

22. July 9, 1968: The Second Wilt Chamberlain Trade

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    Los Angeles Lakers Got

    Wilt Chamberlain

    Philadelphia 76ers Got

    Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark and Darrall Imhoff

    Analysis

    The second big trade in WIlt's career, this one wasn't quite as bad as the first one because it was demanded for by the great center himself. As a result, the Lakers knew that they wouldn't have to give up as much. Clark may have been a good scorer, but the trio that Los Angeles gave away comes nowhere near to matching Wilt's value. 

21. November 1, 1991: Mitch Leaves Golden State

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    Sacramento Kings Got

    Mitch Richmond, Les Jepsen and a 1995 second-round pick (Tyus Edney)

    Golden State Warriors Got

    Billy Owens

    Analysis

    Breaking up Run TMC for good, Golden State shipped away Mitch Richmond in his prime. He would go on to have six All-Star selections with the Kings while Owens spent three good but not great seasons with the Warriors. 

20. June 26, 2002: Antonio McDyess Becomes a Pre-Zeke New York Knicks Casualty

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    New York Knicks Got

    Antonio McDyess, Frank Williams and a 2003 second-round pick (Maciej Lampe)

    Denver Nuggets Got

    Marcus Camby, Nene Hilario and Mark Jackson

    Analysis

    McDyess had to miss the entirety of the 2002-2003 campaign and then played just 18 games for New York before he was included in a deal with the Phoenix Suns. The Nuggets haul was far better as Camby was a defensive machine for Denver over the course of six seasons with the team and Nene is still a productive member of the team, although he may depart via free agency this offseason. 

19. February 15, 1980: Don Ford's Claim to Fame

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    Los Angeles Lakers Got

    Butch Lee and a 1982 first-round pick (James Worthy)

    Cleveland Cavaliers Got

    Don Ford and a 1980 first-round pick (Chad Kinch)

    Analysis

    Ford was in the midst of a season in which he was averaging 3.0 points per game, but the Cavs still decided they wanted him and the Lakers' first-round pick that year. In return, they gave up Lee, who was even worse than Ford, and a future first-rounder that would turn out to be Big Game James.

    Oops. 

18. February 1, 2008: A Brotherly Swap/Steal

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    Los Angeles Lakers Got

    Pau Gasol and a 2010 second-round pick (Devin Ebanks)

    Memphis Grizzlies Got

    Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, a 2008 first-round pick (Donte Greene) and a 2010 first-round pick (Grevis Vasquez)

    Analysis

    This was the trade that pushed Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers over the top and allowed them to win back-to-back championships. Unless Marc Gasol continues to develop and becomes as great a player as his big brother, this will go down in history as an instance of thievery. 

17. August 31, 2000: Jermaine O'Neal Goes to Indiana

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    Indiana Pacers Got

    Jermaine O'Neal and Joe Kleine

    Portland Trail Blazers Got

    Dale Davis

    Analysis

    O'Neal made six All-Star teams in Indiana. Davis was not very good. 

16. July 18, 2001: Kidd and Starbury Cross Paths

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    New Jersey Nets Got

    Jason Kidd and Chris Dudley

    Phoenix Suns Got

    Stephon Marbury, Johnny Newman and Soumaila Samake

    Analysis

    With Kidd creeping up on 30 years of age, the Suns figured he had to start to decline soon. Boy were they wrong. Kidd remained productive enough to make five All-Star teams in New Jersey while Marbury was scoring a lot and creating a ton of enemies in Phoenix. A clubhouse cancer, he was traded to the New York Knicks just under three years after this deal. 

15. October 24, 1976: The Second Moses Malone Trade

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    Buffalo Braves Got

    A 1977 first-round pick (Wesley Cox) and a 1978 first-round pick (Michael Ray Richardson)

    Houston Rockets Got

    Moses Malone

    Analysis

    It hurts to look back at this trade and realize that Malone, an all-time great, left Buffalo after just two games in four days. Richardson was great, but not Malone-great and Cox did nothing in the NBA at all. 

14. January 15, 1965: The First Wilt Chamberlain Trade

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    San Francisco Warriors Got

    Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer and cash

    Philadelphia 76ers Got

    Wilt Chamberlain 

    Analysis

    The financially-strapped Warriors had to trade away Wilt, but they could've at least gotten more in return. Have you ever heard of any of the three players they received in return? Wilt wasn't as dominant in Philly as he was in San Francisco, but he was still a great player, especially on the glass. 

13. June 23, 1972: An Early Blockbuster

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    Baltimore Bullets Got

    Elvin Hayes

    Houston Rockets Got

    Jack Marin

    Analysis

    Marin was a great player in his own right, but he wasn't on the same level as Hayes by any stretch of the imagination. He quickly declined when the trade was made as Hayes teamed up with Wes Unseld to form quite the dynamic duo. 

12. October 1, 1997: Antonio McDyess' Brief Hiatus from Denver

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    Denver Nuggets Got

    A 1998 first-round pick (Tyronn Lue), a 1999 first-round pick (James Posey), a 2000 second-round pick (Dan McClintock), a 2001 first-round pick (Joseph Forte) and a 2002 second-round pick (Rod Grizzard) from Phoenix

    Phoenix Suns Got

    Antonio McDyess from Denver and a 2005 first-round pick (Sean May) from Cleveland

    Cleveland Cavaliers Got

    Tony Dumas and Wesley Person

    Analysis

    Essentially, Denver traded a star player in Antonio McDyess for a bevy of draft picks. Although none of them really panned out, it doesn't matter that much since McDyess signed back with the Nuggets as a free agent in January of 1999. That means they traded one season of McDyess' services for a bunch of picks.  

11. July 17, 1992: Chuck Goes to the Desert

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    Phoenix Suns Got

    Charles Barkley

    Philadelphia 76ers Got

    Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry 

    Analysis

    While Chuck continued his time in the spotlight after the trade, making five more All-Star squads and winning the league MVP award in his first season with the Suns, Hornacek began his decline. He was good for his one full season in Philadelphia but then was traded to the Utah Jazz. Andrew Lang and Tim Perry really aren't even worth talking about here. 

10. June 16, 1975: Kareem Forces a Trade to L.A.

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    Milwaukee Bucks Got

    Junior Bridgeman, Dave Myers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters

    Los Angeles Got

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley

    Analysis

    After deciding that Milwaukee didn't fit his cultural needs, the all-time scoring leader wanted to be traded to either Los Angeles or New York. The rest is history as the players that the Bucks got in return were good, but by no means great. 

9. October 4, 2005: Isiah Thomas' Giant Mistake

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    New York Knicks Got

    Eddy Curry, Antonio Davis and a 2007 first-round pick (Wilson Chandler)

    Chicago Bulls Got

    Jermaine Jackson, Tim Thomas, Mike Sweetney, a 2006 first-round pick (LaMarcus Aldridge), a 2007 first-round pick (Joakim Noah), a 2007 second-round pick (Kyrylo Fesenko) and a 2009 second-round pick (Jon Brockman)

    Analysis

    One of the many terrible moves in Isiah Thomas' tenure as the General Manager of the New York Knicks, this one brought a player who refused to work hard or try at all into the city that never sleeps. Curry showed up to camp out of shape and never even gave 10 percent, much less 110 percent. The most amazing part of this trade though was that Thomas gave up so much for a player who everyone knew had a career-threatening congenital heart condition. 

8. September 2, 1982: Hawks Land Nique

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    Utah Jazz Got

    John Drew and Freeman Williams

    Atlanta Hawks Got

    Dominique Wilkins

    Analysis

    The Atlanta Hawks got the second-best player in their franchise's history, behind Bob Petit, thanks to the Jazz. All they had to give up was Drew, a former great for the Hawks who would only play three seasons in Utah before retiring, and Williams, a swingman who would last with the Jazz for 18 games. 

7. December 17, 2004: The Vince Carter Trade Was Anything but a Slam Dunk

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    Toronto Raptors Got

    Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams, a 2005 first-round pick (Joey Graham) and a 2006 first-round pick (Renaldo Balkman)

    New Jersey Nets Got

    Vince Carter

    Analysis

    The prize of this trade for Toronto, seeing as the rest of the guys were nothing more than bench-warmers, was All-Everything center Alonzo Mourning. But Mourning never reported to the team and his contract was bought out before Zo even played a single game. 

6. June 22, 1987: A Dynasty Is Formed in Chicago

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    Chicago Bulls Got

    Scottie Pippen and a 1989 first-round pick (Jeff Sanders)

    Seattle SuperSonics Got

    Olden Polynice, a 1988 second-round pick (Sylvester Gray) and a 1989 first-round pick (B.J. Armstrong)

    Analysis

    Chicago would not have won six titles without Scottie Pippen. Especially not if Olden Polynice, he of the 7.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his career, was the replacement. 

5. October 20, 1976: The Doctor's New Office Is in Philly

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    Philadelphia 76ers Got

    Julius Erving 

    New York Nets Got

    Cash

    Analysis

    The New York Nets' owner, Roy Boe, had promised Erving a salary increase going into the 1976-1977 season, but after he was forced to pay the New York Knicks a $4.8 million fee for territorial encroachment, he had to go back on his word due to a lack of funds. Erving refused to play and Boe had to sell his contract to the 76ers for $3 million. 

    But despite the story, an all-time great transferred teams for almost nothing. 

4. April 30, 1956: The Day That Haunts Hawks Fans

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    Boston Celtics Got

    Bill Russell

    St. Louis Hawks Got

    Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley

    Analysis

    You may have noticed from my profile that I'm an Atlanta Hawks fan and Featured Columnist. Forgive me for not wanting to analyze this trade any further. 

3. June 24, 1998: A German and a Tractor

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    Milwaukee Bucks Got

    Robert Traylor

    Dallas Mavericks Got

    Dirk Nowitzki and Pat Garrity

    Analysis

    The now-deceased Tractor Traylor (R.I.P.) was a colossal NBA bust with career averages of 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while Dirk would go on to become the greatest foreign player of all time. Now that he has a championship, he's arguably a top 20 player in the history of this sport. 

2. September 9, 1980: Joe Barry Carrol Was Not Worth It

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    Golden State Warriors Got

    A 1980 first-round pick (Joe Barry Carroll) and a 1980 first-round pick (Rickey Brown)

    Boston Celtics Got

    Robert Parish and a 1980 first-round pick (Kevin McHale)

    Analysis

    It doesn't matter how good Carroll and Brown were. This trade allowed the Celtics to form a dynasty in the early 1980s. 

1. July 11, 1996: What? Kobe Was a Hornet?

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    Charlotte Hornets Got

    Vlade Divac

    Los Angeles Lakers Got

    Kobe Bryant

    Analysis

    Kobe's agent had made it quite clear that the Lower Merion product would not be playing for the Hornets, so New Orleans made the pick for Los Angeles. Vlade Divac was a great pick-up at the time because he was a very good, versatile big man, but he pales in comparison to Kobe now, especially because he only spent two seasons with the Hornets.