If there's any league that has shown us Superstars can be traded, it's the NBA. Wilt Chamberlain was dealt from Philadelphia to the Lakers after a season in which he averaged more than 24 points per game. Wilt the Stilt retired and the Lakers easily replaced him with another generational player in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar through a trade with Milwaukee. Kevin Garnett was traded from a good-but-never-great Minnesota Timberwolves team to the Boston Celtics, where he helped prove 'ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.'
There's more examples and for every one of those, there's the crazy league-altering deal that almost happened. General Managers speak with each other frequently and names will often come up in passing, but there's never any serious discussion. Danny Ainge could call up David Griffin right now and ask for LeBron James, but there's no chance The King is going to Boston. Every GM in the league could reach out to Minnesota and ask for Karl-Anthony Towns, but it would be a short call. Yet, occasionally one of those conversations leads to substantial trade talk.
Our list of 15 rumored deals that could have significantly altered the NBA features multiple Hall of Famers and potential future members.
15 15. Isiah Thomas To The Knicks
After guiding the Pistons to NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990, Isiah Thomas was on the downswing of his career when the New York Knicks came calling midway through the 1993-94 season. New York General Manager Ernie Grunfeld was looking for veteran leadership at the point guard position and the Pistons were off to an underwhelming start at 8-20 through their first 28 games, meaning Thomas, 32, might welcome a trade to the Big Apple.
14 14. Chris Paul To The Trail Blazers
A potential trade in the summer of 2010 could have positioned the Portland Trail Blazers as perennial contenders in the Western Conference. After another losing season with the New Orleans Hornets, it was rumored that Chris Paul, the league's premier point guard, wanted to be traded to a contender. Paul provided management with a four-team list which consisted of the Magic, Mavericks, Knicks, and Trail Blazers.
13 13. Charles Barkley To The Lakers
Charles Barkley was a Los Angeles Laker for a very brief moment. Or at least he thought he was. Playing with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1992, Barkley received a call from his agent telling him he had been dealt to the Lakers. In true Sir Charles fashion, Barkley ate lunch and began drinking, before learning Philadelphia had retracted the reported deal that would have netted them James Worthy and Elden Campbell in return.
12 12. Tracy McGrady For Scottie Pippen
Still finding their way in the NBA as an expansion team, the Toronto Raptors almost made a major splash on draft night in 1997. The Raptors drafted Tracy McGrady with the ninth overall pick and, though T-Mac went on to play three seasons with the Raptors, the franchise had a deal on the table that would send the guard to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Scottie Pippen.
11 11. Dwight Howard For Hassan Whiteside
It was reported prior to the 2016 NBA trade deadline that the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets were discussing a potential trade that would see Dwight Howard shipped to Miami in exchange for Hassan Whiteside and salary dumps. The deal wouldn't have made much sense for the Heat, though you could perhaps argue in favor of it if the Heat thought they had a better chance to sign Howard in the offseason. Both players were due to become unrestricted free agents in the summer.
10 10. Larry Bird To The Pacers
Achilles and back injuries ailed Larry Bird in his final four seasons in the NBA, but he was still a productive star for the Boston Celtics. If a proposed trade from the Indiana Pacers went through in 1988, Bird would have played out his career in his home state. The Pacers offered the Celtics Chuck Person, Herb Williams, and Steve Stipanovich, but the Celtics opted for loyalty to their longtime franchise player.
9 9. Kobe Bryant To The Mavericks
You should probably take everything Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says with a grain of salt, but the billionaire thought Kobe Bryant was going to join his team in the summer of 2007. Bryant had demanded a trade from the Lakers and half the league had reportedly approached Los Angeles with packages, including the Detroit Pistons, who would have sent Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and draft picks. The most intriguing deal, however, would have saw Kobe go to Dallas in exchange for Josh Howard and Jason Terry.
8 8. Allen Iverson To The Pistons
Allen Iverson was an elite 24-year-old scorer for the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the 2000-01 season, but the team was prepared to send him to the Detroit Pistons. Nobody has ever accused Iverson of being too professional or hard-working, so it's no surprise the 76ers were a little fed up with his attitude and tardiness ("We talkin' practice?!''). The team actually confirmed a six-team, 24-player trade in the summer of 2000 that would have sent Iverson and backup center Matt Geiger to the Pistons, but Geiger didn't waive his no-trade clause.
7 7. Hakeem Olajuwon To The Heat
Long before Shaquille O'Neal was helping Dwyane Wade win an NBA Championship in Miami, the Heat were trying to acquire Hakeem Olajuwon in 1992 to combat Shaq, who was then a dominant force for their rivals, the Orlando Magic. Olajuwon, 30, was in the prime of his career at the time and would have been capable of slowing down The Big Aristotle. Rumors persisted about a possible deal for months and the reported trade would have saw Olajuwon and Sleepy Floyd go from Houston to Miami in exchange for Rony Seikaly, Grant Long, and Harold Miner.
6 6. Tony Parker To The Trail Blazers
Looking to bolster a stagnant young squad, the Portland Trail Blazers hoped to add Tony Parker on draft night in 2011. The San Antonio Spurs were looking to get younger and move up in the draft, so the team offered Parker and the 29th pick to the Blazers for Andre Miller, Nicolas Batum and the 21st pick. The reported hold up was the fact that the Spurs wanted to throw in Richard Jefferson, who had three years and more than $30 million left on his contract, which way back in 2011 was reserved for actual good players and not bench depth.
5 5. Blake Griffin For Carmelo Anthony
Sometimes rumors have very little substance, but the Blake Griffin for Carmelo Anthony swap surfaced last season and persisted for several months. The Knicks, well, they were the Knicks, so there were few moves that would make them worse, but a change of scenery could have been good for both players. Anthony's Knicks had been a laughing stock of the league since he joined the team, while many believed the core of Griffin, Chris Paul, and Andre Jordan had reached its ceiling.
4 4. Steve Nash To The Grizzlies
We're not much into grandiose statements, but if the Phoenix Suns traded Steve Nash to the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1998, there would still be two Canadian NBA franchises. The Suns drafted Nash in 1996, but he was behind point guards Kevin Johnson and Jason Kidd. By 1998, the team was shopping Nash and proposed sending him to his hometown team along with Cliff Robinson in a package deal centered around Bryant 'Big Country' Reeves.
3 3. James Harden To The Wizards
The Washington Wizards had a chance to acquire one of the league's premier guards in 2012 when the Oklahoma City Thunder were shopping James Harden. Before Harden was eventually shipped to Houston, the Thunder had agreed to the principles of a trade with Washington that would have saw them receive Bradley Beal and Chris Singleton.
2 2. Kobe Bryant To The Bulls
As incredibly tough as it is to picture now, Kobe Bryant could have played the final nine seasons of his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls. During the summer of 2007, Bryant had openly demanded a trade from the Lakers. The Bulls didn't have much to interest the Los Angeles, but a package of players was put together that included then 22-year-old Luol Deng. Bryant, who had a no trade clause and absolute power in negotiation, reportedly didn't want to go to Chicago if he wasn't going to play with Deng.
1 1. Michael Jordan To The Clippers
Michael Jordan hadn't won a NBA Championship after his first four seasons in Chicago, but was a dominant scorer who had come off consecutive seasons averaging more than 35 points per game. Still, he found himself the subject of trade speculation in 1988 due to perceived concerns about his attitude - MJ was a me-first player, which, until he won a championship, rubbed team executives the wrong way.
The Clippers, who were coming off of a 17-65 season, offered the Bulls any combination of five players and/or draft picks. The Clippers owned the first and sixth overall picks in the 1986 NBA Draft and the Bulls were high on 7-foot-4 Rik Smits. The deal was ultimately called off as the Bulls felt Jordan was too talented and profitable to trade. Had it happened, we know Jordan would still have won multiple championships with the Clippers, but would the "Crying Jordan" meme exist? That's the real question.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!