Typically, the goal of every NBA trade is for all teams involved to get equal value for what they're giving up, but as anyone who's followed the NBA on any level already knows, this doesn't always end up being the case.
Now, there are some exceptions, as some teams are just looking to dump the salary of an overpaid player, and they're willing to take back literally almost nothing to do so.
In the coming year, we're going to see who made the right moves, and who made the wrong moves during the off-season, and we're also going to see who made the correct moves during last season as well, as some of the recently traded NBA stars will finally be able to settle into their new homes.
Some recent trades have involved superstar players such as Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan, and Carmelo Anthony, while others have involved draft picks and future NBA stars such as Luka Doncic and Trae Young.
For this article, we're going to be taking a closer look at who won some of the recent trade exchanges, and who lost. Of course, the winners and losers of some of the following trades might not be so apparent once the season starts, as we'll have to wait and who fits in well on their new teams.
But, for now, let's take a look at some of the recent NBA trades that already look one-sided.
20 Luka Doncic For Trae Young
Many NBA experts are expecting Luka Doncic to be the biggest breakout star of the current draft class. In fact, some think that he should've been taken number one overall by the Phoenix Suns. However, the Atlanta Hawks decided to draft the foreign star, but they didn't keep him long, as they quickly traded him to Dallas in exchange for former University of Oklahoma point guard Trae Young. Of course, both players have yet to officially start their NBA careers, but Doncic is in a great situation with veteran players around him, while Trae Young is on a bad team that is destined to be in the draft lottery for the next couple of years at least. So, for now, it looks like the Dallas Mavericks came out on top in this exchange.
19 Blake Griffin For Tobias Harris And Avery Bradley
Both Tobias Harris and Blake Griffin have yet to spend a full season with their new teams, but for now, it's pretty safe to say that the former Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward isn't the player that he once was. In fact, you could make the argument that he's the most overrated and overpaid player in the entire league. On the other hand, Tobias Harris has been fantastic for the Clippers during his short time with the team, and he has a pretty decent contract as well, which won't prevent the L.A.-based team from signing big name free agents in the future. So, unless Blake Griffin is going to have a second prime, it looks like the Clippers won this exchange, especially since they also got Avery Bradley in the deal.
18 Elfrid Payton For 2nd Round Pick
When the Orlando Magic acquired Elfrid Payton back in the 2014 NBA draft, it looked like they finally found a cornerstone player who would help the franchise get back on track. However, he ended up being an underachiever as a lottery pick, and prior to the trade deadline last season, the team decided to move him to the Suns for a second round pick, which, in my opinion, was a pretty good move. Sure, they could've gotten more value for the former lottery pick, but at the same time, having him on the team killed them on the offensive side of the floor. Of course, the Magic probably aren't going to ascend to the top of the Eastern Conference anytime soon, but they're a lot better off without Payton than they were with him.
17 Nikola Mirotic For Asik, Nelson, And Allen
Last season, the New Orleans Pelicans were able to send Omer Asik's awful contract, along with Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen, to the Chicago Bulls for Nikola Mirotic, who has been a good fit for the team so far. Essentially, the Pelicans were able to dump three aging veterans, one of which was one of the most overpaid players in the league, for a younger, more effective player who can play alongside Anthony Davis in a small ball lineup. Of course, the Pelicans are still a long way away from being serious contenders in the Western Conference, but acquiring the ex-Bulls power forward will help them get closer to where they want to be, which is one of the elite teams in their conference.
16 Eric Bledsoe For Greg Monroe
The Milwaukee Bucks were able to pull off a pretty one-sided trade last season when they traded struggling center Greg Monroe to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe, who has been able to fit in nicely as the team's starting point guard. Before the trade, Bledsoe was a pretty effective player during his time with the Suns, but the team is clearly in rebuilding mode, so they felt the need to trade him for Greg Monroe, who they released shortly thereafter. So, it's pretty safe to say that the Bucks won this exchange, as Monroe did literally nothing for the Suns.
15 Kyrie Irving For Isaiah Thomas
When it became clear that longtime Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving wanted to be traded, nobody could've predicted that the Boston Celtics would be able to trade Isaiah Thomas, who was coming off a major injury, for one of the top 10 players in the entire league. When this deal was made, Cleveland was probably under the impression that Thomas was going to return to his MVP-candidate level of play, which would've definitely helped LeBron James and Kevin Love defeat the Warriors in the NBA finals, however, the ex-Celtics point guard didn't do much for the Cavs, and he was traded to the Lakers shortly after his return from injury.
14 Allen Crabbe For Andrew Nicholson
The Portland Trail Blazers re-signed shooting guard Allen Crabbe to one of the worst contracts in the entire league a few seasons ago, but luckily for them, they didn't end up getting stuck with it, as they were able to move Crabbe to the Brooklyn Nets for virtually nothing. In the trade, they took back former Orlando Magic power forward Andrew Nicholson, who never ended up playing a game for them. But, being able to dump Crabbe's expensive contract on another team, even if they basically got nothing in return, was a huge win for the Pacific Northwest's one and only NBA team.
13 Rose, Crowder, And Shumpert For Hood And Hill
In this three-team deal which involved the Cavaliers, the Kings, and the Jazz, the Cavs were able to send away Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, and Iman Shumpert, all of which had either bad contracts or, in Rose's case, were no longer effective players, and in return they took George Hill and Rodney Hood. Of course, George Hill's contract is pretty bad, but it only lasts for one more season. But, the fact that the Cavs got Rodney Hood means that this is a clear win for Cleveland, as the former Duke star has a ton of potential, and on top of that, this upcoming season could be a breakout year for him. So, if you ask me, this was a one-sided deal that's clearly in favor of Cleveland.
12 DeMarre Carroll For Justin Hamilton
Speaking of bad contracts, the Toronto Raptors were able to move veteran swingman DeMarre Carroll and his expensive contract to Brooklyn in exchange for center Justin Hamilton. At one point, during his time with the Atlanta Hawks, Carroll was one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. However, he greatly underachieved during his time with the Raptors, and luckily for them, they were able to dump his bad contract onto the Brooklyn Nets, who are clearly in rebuilding mode. Both Portland and Toronto fans should be thrilled to have a team like the Nets in the league, who are clearly willing to take on bad contracts, as both Carroll and the aforementioned Allen Crabbe are two of the most overpaid players in the NBA today.
11 Marcus Morris For Avery Bradley
Avery Bradley is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, but when the Celtics decided to move him to Detroit in exchange for Marcus Morris, it freed up minutes for young, up-and-coming players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who many think will be future All-Stars for the team. Also, Bradley is no longer a member of the Detroit Pistons locker room, as he was moved to the Clippers in the Blake Griffin deal. So, it's pretty safe to say that Boston was on the winning end of this very one-sided trade, as it allowed them to free up minutes for some of the best young players in the league.
10 Danilo Gallinari For Jamal Crawford
Last season, the Los Angeles Clippers were able to move aging sixth man Jamal Crawford, as they traded him to Denver for veteran small forward Danilo Gallinari, who has turned out to be a pretty good fit for the Clippers. When healthy, Gallinari is a pretty effective player, while Crawford is clearly on the downside of his NBA career. Moreover, Crawford didn't ever suit up for the Nuggets, as he was released and subsequently signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves. So, while the Clippers ended up getting an effective scorer when he's healthy, the Nuggets got virtually nothing in return, so the Clippers definitely got the better of this exchange.
9 Tony Bradley For Josh Hart
Josh Hart has fit in quite nicely with the Los Angeles Lakers, as the team traded center Tony Bradley over to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Hart, who could have a breakout year this upcoming season, thanks to the team adding LeBron James. While Hart is one of the hot young prospects on the Los Angeles Lakers' roster, Bradley is essentially a bench warmer for the Jazz, which probably won't change anytime soon due to the team already having a superstar center in Rudy Gobert. It's a real shame that the Jazz didn't hold onto Hart, as he would've been a nice player to have come off the bench to either spell Donovan Mitchell or to pair alongside last season's Rookie of the Year runner-up during crunch time.
8 Dwyane Wade For 2nd Round Pick
Future Hall of Fame shooting guard Dwyane Wade was able to return to Miami last season via a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat gave up essentially nothing to get Wade back, as they only traded a future second-round pick for the former All-Star. Of course, Wade is no longer in his physical prime, and at best, he has one more season left in him. But, following his return to South Beach, Wade proved that he can still be an effective player, as he played pretty well during the team's playoff run. So, while the Cavs pretty much got nothing back when they traded for Wade, the Heat got back a team legend who can still be effective for them in the right role, so I'd say this was a clear win for Miami.
7 Thomas And Frye For Clarkson And Nance
Luckily for Cleveland, they were able to get decent value for Isaiah Thomas when they decided to move him to the Lakers, as they were able to pick up Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in the deal. Sure, Clarkson's contract isn't the best, but the Cavs won't be contenders anytime soon so it really doesn't matter. But to me, the real star of this trade is Larry Nance, whom I think is going to be one of the most effective power forwards in the league, especially if he can develop a consistent three-point shot. So, while the Cavs took back a pair of young and talented players, the Lakers took back two aging veterans who are clearly no longer in their prime. So, to me, this was a very one-sided deal for Cleveland.
6 Ryan Anderson For Marquese Chriss And Brandon Knight
Over the summer, the Houston Rockets were able to trade Ryan Anderson, whom many thought was untradeable due to the nature of his contract. In return, they picked up Marquese Chriss, who is only 21 years old and a former lottery pick, and Brandon Knight, who at one point was a pretty effective player. But even if both Knight and Criss don't amount to much in Houston, the fact that they were able to dump an expensive and bad contract was a clear win for them. On top of that, Anderson probably won't add much to the Suns, as he hasn't been an effective player for quite some time now. So this was a clear win for the Rockets, especially if Chriss ends up reaching his potential during the upcoming season.
5 Jimmy Butler For Kris Dunn And Zach LaVine
As every NBA fan knows by now, Jimmy Butler desperately wants out of Minnesota, and if he doesn't change his mind, the team will be forced to trade him, which would mean that they traded away two of the league's brightest prospects for a four-time All-Star who has no interest in staying with the team. Kris Dunn showed major signs of improvement last season, and now that Zach LaVine is fully healthy, the Bulls could have a pretty exciting backcourt, even if they don't end up being a true contender in the Eastern Conference. Of course, the Timberwolves could end up trading Butler for another superstar player, but that doesn't seem likely, as most NBA stars aren't interested in playing in Minnesota.
4 Carmelo Anthony For Dennis Schroder
Over the summer, the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to trade Carmelo Anthony and his overly expensive contract to the Atlanta Hawks for the team's starting point guard, Dennis Schroder. This led to the Hawks buying Anthony out, which led him to sign with the Houston Rockets. Now, Schroder will be moved to the backup point guard role, as he'll be playing behind Russell Westbrook. So, essentially, the Thunder were able to trade Anthony, who's clearly no longer in his prime, for a guy who has the potential to be one of the most effective bench players in the league. So, I'd say this was a one-sided trade in favor of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
3 Paul George For Damantas Sabonis And Victor Oladipo
At the time this trade happened, many believed that this would be a one-sided deal in favor of the Thunder, who only had to give up Victor Oladipo and Damantas Sabonis, both of which were struggling during their time in Oklahoma City. But, upon arriving in Indiana, both players showed major signs of improvement, especially Oladipo, who has become one of the best two-way players in the entire league. To sum it up, the Thunder probably won't be a true contender in the Western Conference, as I fully expect them to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs like they were last season, while the Pacers will probably be contenders in the Eastern Conference for many years to come. So this was a clear win for Indiana.
2 Donovan Mitchell For Trey Lyles
It was clearly a mistake for the Denver Nuggets to move Donovan Mitchell, who was by far the steal of last year's NBA draft, for Trey Lyles, a guy who has struggled to find his niche in the league. The pairing of Jokic and Mitchell would've been a deadly combo in Denver, but the Colorado-based team decided to end the pairing before it even began, likely in favor of the team's current shooting guard Gary Harris. But trading Mitchell was a horrible mistake by the Nuggets, and it'll probably haunt the franchise for years to come, as Mitchell could very well end up being the best shooting guard in the entire league within the next few years.
1 Kawhi Leonard For DeMar DeRozan
Even though he spent the majority of last season sitting on the sidelines while he was dealing with an injury, Kawhi Leonard is still one of the most coveted players in the entire league. On top of that, he's been extremely successful in the playoffs, while the man they traded to get him, DeMar DeRozan, has regularly struggled in the postseason. Things are going to get much worse for DeRozan this upcoming season, as he's now in the Western Conference, which is by far the superior conference. So, if he struggled against the East in the postseason, he's definitely going to struggle in the West, and because of that, I'd say this was a huge win for the Toronto Raptors, even if Kawhi ends up leaving at the end of this season.