There are a lot of trades that happen in the NBA on a yearly basis, with most of them coming during the day of the yearly NBA Draft or just before the February deadline. While there aren’t many blockbuster deals out there, there are certainly enough to grab some headlines, especially with the hardcore fans.
Not a lot of the casual fans will recognize a lot of the names that get swapped around during these two trade-packed days of the year, but they can end up being important years or even just months down the road. In the past couple of years alone, we’ve seen some trades that appeared to be minor at the time that would end up being regretful for one side.
Let’s take a look at some of the trades you might have glossed over and a couple that you certainly remember. These trades would become more one-sided than they appeared at the time as potential turned into talent and veteran talent turned into a slew of retirements and roster releases. Here are 15 recent NBA trades that have happened since 2014 that teams are already regretting.
15 Orlando Cuts Ties With Channing Frye
In February 2016, the Orlando Magic were trying to get rid of some of their payroll, despite the fact that they had more than enough to work with. With that said, Orlando was willing to get participate in a three team trade with both the Cavaliers and Blazers and so far the Cavaliers have gotten the most out of the deal.
14 The Magic Moving Tobias Harris
Getting rid of Channing Frye wasn’t the only thing Orlando did to save money last February, as they were also willing to part ways with Tobias Harris. Harris showed a lot of potential for Orlando, but did have a pretty big contract at four years and $64 million. Orlando lost out on a good player, but still ended up paying Bismack Biyombo about the same amount of money during the offseason.
13 Minnesota Goes for Feel Good Story
The Minnesota Timberwolves weren’t really going anywhere in the 2014-15 NBA season and decided to make a trade to try to get some fans in the stands. Minnesota was willing to get rid of Thaddeus Young so that they could pull in Kevin Garnett, to bring him back to where he was drafted. The Nets were more than happy to get the aging superstar off of their books and they picked up a solid player in Young in doing so.
12 Dallas Tries to Copy Golden State
In sports, there is a bit of a copycat mentality where one team tries to duplicate the success of others by taking some of their talent. We see it all the time in the NFL with Patriots assistant coaches being picked up left and right and the Mavericks tried to follow suit by acquiring some talent from Golden State.
11 Jazz Come Up Short
We head back to February 2015 for our next trade, which was a three-team deal between the Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz. The Pistons would end up getting Reggie Jackson, while the Thunder acquired Enes Kanter, Steve Novak, D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler. Finally, Utah landed Kendrick Perkins, Tibor Pleiss and a protected first round pick in 2017 and a second rounder to go along with it.
10 Suns Take Advantage
This is one of those three-team trades where there weren’t really any winners, there was just one team that wasn’t a big loser. The Suns, Bucks and 76ers all got together in 2015 to make a three team trade that sent Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis to Milwaukee and Brandon Knight to Phoenix. Meanwhile, the 76ers got a draft pick that didn’t turn out to be anything, really.
9 Wizards Take a Chance
In February 2016, Markieff Morris got into a scuffle on the bench with Archie Goodwin while he was playing for the Suns. Instead of hoping that the two could get along, Phoenix decided to send him packing, and the Wizards jumped on the opportunity. The Suns sent Morris to D.C. in exchange for Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair and a protected first round pick in 2016.
8 Nuggets Add a Pair of Valuable Pieces
The Denver Nuggets are fighting like crazy to contend in the nearly impossible Western Conference, so it takes every piece possible to get there. They were able to get some depth from Chicago on draft night in 2014 when they shipped Creighton project Doug McDermott to the Bulls with Anthony Randolph. While McDermott is averaging 10.6 points per game in the 2016-17 season, Randolph is not even in the United States right now.
7 Nuggets Do It Again
Chicago may have gotten the short end in their deal with Denver in 2014, but that was nothing compared to what the Nuggets did to Portland in February 2015. Denver shipped off veterans Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee for potential, which has fortunately for them, looked promising. Denver would get a 2016 first rounder (Malik Beasley), Thomas Robinson, Victor Claver and Will Barton in the deal.
6 Hard Times in Hotlanta
Here's how this one goes. The Hawks get Taurean Prince (rookie barely playing), Jazz get George Hill (20.4 pts, 5.0 ast, 2.9 reb so far), Pacers get Jeff Teague (16.0 pts, 6.6 ast, 3.4 reb so far), Hawks still can’t re-sign Al Horford and instead get overpriced Dwight Howard
The Atlanta Hawks were faced with a conundrum going into the summer of 2016 as they had Kent Bazemore and Al Horford eligible for free agency. Atlanta was hoping that they would get both of them back, but only ended up getting Bazemore as Horford signed with Boston. Before that happened, Atlanta tried to shed money to use on Horford, participating in a three team trade with Utah and Indiana.
5 Miami Finds Their Point Guard
February 2015 also saw another regretful trade go down and this one was also between three teams. At the time, people thought Miami gave up too much in an effort to get Goran (and brother Zoran) Dragic from the Suns. Phoenix would end up getting a protected 2017 first round pick in 2017 and an unprotected pick in 2021 from Miami, as well as John Salmons. The Pelicans were also part of the deal, getting Justin Hamilton and Shawne Williams.
4 Magic Steal Evan Fournier
We already brought up one trade earlier in the list with Arron Afflalo, whom the Nuggets sent over to Portland as part of the Will Barton deal. Well, before they could do that, they had to get the raw end of a trade with Orlando. The Magic made a deal with Denver back in June 2014 that would send Afflalo to Denver in exchange for Evan Fournier and Roy Devyn Marble.
3 Wizards Let Jordan Clarkson Go
How do you get a point guard/shooting guard to help usher in a new era for the Lakers, who have gotten off to a surprising start? It’s simple, you just trade a few bucks over the Washington Wizards. During the 2014 NBA Draft, the Lakers acquired Jordan Clarkson after the Wizards selected him with the 46th overall pick. Since that position usually doesn’t do much, we can’t imagine Washington got a lot of money for the trade.
2 Isaiah Thomas Comes to Boston
The Celtics have really made some teams regret their trades in the past few years, with Brooklyn being among them, but that falls just outside of the time frame that we used. The first of the two heists that Boston has pulled off comes in a three-team deal involving the Suns (yes, them again) and the Pistons. The Pistons got a feel-good story in Tayshaun Prince, but nothing else.
1 Rondo Heads to Dallas
The final trade on our list is the other highway robbery that the Celtics committed, and yet another blunder from the Mavericks. Dallas was in desperate need of some point guard play heading into the 2014/15 playoffs, so they traded for Rajon Rondo from Boston, while also receiving Dwight Powell. It was a king’s ransom that they gave up, as well, sending two draft picks to go along with Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and Jae Crowder.
The Mavericks didn’t get what they needed from Rondo and he was gone after the 2015-16 season after only 46 games. While Wright and Nelson are no longer with Boston, they have the piece they need in Jae Crowder. Crowder would increase his scoring average from 3.6 points per game in Dallas to 14.2 in Boston in his first year, also hauling in 5.1 rebounds per game. His stats so far this year are on par and something Dallas could have used.
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