Everyone has done something in the past that they have regretted down the road. Most of the time we learn from these actions and make sure we don't do something similar to it again. For instance when I was in college I ran straight into a pole while wearing a Ted costume. I couldn't see very well while I was frolicking through the downtown area and someone decided to put a giant metal object in front of me. I later regretted being so stupid and learned that I should be more careful when dawning the giant bear costume. NBA franchises have condoned actions that have had much greater consequences.
Whether it's a bad trade or a horrible free agent signing, every team has had at least one moment that they wish they could redo. Since time travel hasn't been invented yet, coaches and front offices must simply live with their decisions and try to work around them. One thing to note while going through this list is that some teams haven't had as bad of luck as others. Take the Chicago Bulls for instance. They dominated during the '90s but that doesn't mean they haven't made bad decisions in the past (trust me they've made plenty). I'm sure your favorite teams entry on this list had some sort of impact on you.
30 Atlanta Hawks: Trading Bill Russell
While this move transpired several years ago, one can only wonder what the NBA would have been like if it didn't happen at all. It came before the team officially move to Atlanta in 1968. The St. Louis Hawks drafted Bill Russell with the 2nd pick in the 1956 draft. The Hawks probably didn't think that Russell would become one of the games greatest centers to ever lace up a pair of sneakers since they traded him moments after they selected him. Boston was the recipient of the trade and they sent Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to play for St. Louis.
29 Boston Celtics: Drafting Antoine Walker
Antoine Walker wasn't a bad player. Him and Paul Pierce made the Celtics relevant again in the early 2000s but when you look at the 1996 draft there is a glaring mistake that Boston wishes they could rewrite. Walker was taken by Boston with the 6th overall pick. Who was taken seven picks later? Kobe Bryant. Yes, Mr. Bryant could have been a Celtic instead of a Laker. Imagine him in Celtic green instead of purple and gold. Shaq and Kobe would have never happened and Paul Pierce could have won multiple titles.
28 Brooklyn Nets: Trading Their Future For Basically Nothing
The Nets have gotten worse and worse ever since the team moved to Brooklyn in 2012. Their win percentage has dropped every year, having finished 21-61 last season which made them 14th in the Eastern Conference. To make matter even more depressing, Brooklyn made a trade in 2013 that would doom them for years to come. On June 28th, also the day of the draft, the Nets traded Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, future first-round picks (2014, 2016 and 2018) and the rights to swap first-round picks in 2017 to the Boston Celtics. All of this for three guys who were in their mid-30s already: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. Wow. Garnett spent two seasons in Brooklyn while Pierce and Terry both left after their first.
27 Charlotte Hornets: Trading Kobe Bryant
26 Chicago Bulls: Keeping Derrick Rose In
With less then two minutes to go in Game 1, the Chicago Bulls were headed towards a 1-0 lead in the First Round of the 2012 NBA playoffs against the Philadelphia '76ers. The win wouldn't come without a major setback though. The Bulls were up 99-87 when Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL in his left knee. Why was Rose still in the game at this point? The injury not only cost the Bulls a shot at a title, but it also has led to a whirlwind of headaches that would soon follow.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers: Drafting Anthony Bennett
24 Dallas Mavericks: Erick Dampier's Contract
23 Denver Nuggets: Trading Carmelo Anthony
Small market teams like the Denver Nuggets rarely get big name players like Carmelo Anthony. After drafting Anthony in 2003, the rookie averaged an astounding 21 points and was seen as the leader of a Nuggets team that was looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 1995. The success was limited during Anthony's eight seasons with the team, having made it out of the First Round of the playoffs only once in 2009. This resulted in the All-Star asking for a trade from the team in 2011. The Knicks decided to bring in Anthony and a blockbuster trade was set to take place.
22 Detroit Pistons: Signing Josh Smith And Brandon Jennings
21 Golden State Warriors: Trading Robert Parish and Kevin McHale
20 Houston Rockets: The Dwight Howard Experiment
Signing Dwight Howard turned out to be a mistake. Ask anyone in Houston and they'll tell you that the team is better off without him. Just look at how they're playing now. The Dwight Howard trade saga was a pretty annoying time in sports. Once he ended up landing in Houston, the Rockets were seen as one of the top teams in the Western Conference; but just like every other team Howard has played on, there were glaring holes that needed to be addressed. Howard is a liability. His numbers at the free throw line will hurt anyone and they did just that to the Rockets. His point totals dropped every season that he was in Houston and conflict between him and James Harden soon developed.
19 Indiana Pacers: Signing Ron Artest
18 Los Angeles Clippers: Basically Trading Kyrie Irving
If you're going to trade a first-round draft pick you should at least try to make it a protected pick. The Clippers failed to do this back in 2011 and they paid the price by losing out on potentially grabbing one of the best point guards we have today. The Clippers were looking to shed Baron Davis after he failed to live up to his contract and started clashing with the front office. Cleveland would be the next destination for Davis as Los Angeles sent him and a unprotected first-round draft pick to the Cavaliers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon in return.
17 Los Angeles Lakers: The Original Dwight Howard Experiment
The Lakers were the first team to take a chance on Dwight Howard after his days in Orlando became numbered. Orlando dealt Howard to the Lakers in a four-team deal that also included the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets. A number of players were moved around but Howard was the biggest name of them all. The Lakers were on the verge of forming a super team which showcased a starting lineup of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Howard. The whole thing crashed and burned harder than any other super team ever composed. Kobe and Dwight proved to be a terrible duo and the team finished 7th in Western Conference.
16 Memphis Grizzlies: Trading Pau Gasol
15 Miami Heat: Letting Dwyane Wade Leave
There aren't many players that play their whole career with one team. Dwayne Wade was en route to finish his professional career with the Miami Heat but all of that changed during contract negotiations last summer. Wade became the face of the franchise after Miami drafted him in 2003. The first-ballot Hall of Famer is easily one of the best players to ever wear a Heat Jersey, which is why it was so surprising to see him leave the team. On July 6, 2016 Wade announced that he had signed a two-year deal worth $47.5 million with the Chicago Bulls. There were rumors that Wade would leave Miami but it was still shocking to see the whole thing transpire. Team president Pat Riley shared his reaction to the signing a few days after it all went down.
14 Milwaukee Bucks: Trading Ray Allen
Trading Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could have been the pick for the Bucks but he won Milwaukee their only title to date in 1971 so it wasn't a total loss for them. However, shipping Ray Allen off to Seattle midway through the 2002-03 season was. Allen was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996 but was traded immediately to Milwaukee. After seven seasons with the Bucks he was sent to Seattle along with Ronald Murray, Kevin Ollie and a conditional first-round pick in exchange for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason. Coach George Karl spoke to ESPN about Ray Allen after Milwaukee officially made the trade.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves: Trading Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett had his best days come with the Minnesota Timberwolves. His numbers (22.4 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 4 APG) the season before he was dealt were easily the best on a team that failed to the make the playoffs. The deal that would end up sending Garnett to Boston involved seven players being dealt to Minnesota. The 7-for-1 player ratio trade constitutes the largest number of players ever traded for a single player. Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and Boston's 2009 first-round draft pick (top 3 protected) were all packaged and shipped to Minnesota.
12 New Orleans Pelicans: Trading Chris Paul
The Pelicans haven't had a decent starting point guard since Chris Paul left the team in 2011. Jrue Holiday isn't terrible but in a league stacked with backcourt talent it's hard to stand out among the rest. Paul forced the team to trade him after making the playoffs only three times during his six seasons in New Orleans. In return the Hornets received Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick. Definitely not enough for one of the best point guards in the league.
11 New York Knicks: Hiring Isiah Thomas To Do Everything
The Knicks have made some terrible decisions in the past 15 years. Isiah Thomas was originally brought in to serve as the President of Basketball Operations. He made a number of moves that didn't sit well with the Knicks fanbase. At the end of the 2004-05 season, New York had the highest payroll while finishing with the second-worst record in the league. To make matters worse, for some reason Thomas decided to go after Eddy Curry and sent away numerous lottery draft picks to obtain the disappointing center. After firing Larry Brown, owner James Dolan appointed Thomas as the new head coach of the team.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder: Trading James Harden
This one is pretty obvious. The Thunder had a potential dynasty in the making. Durant, Westbrook and Harden were all making names for themselves in OKC. After losing to the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals, General manager Sam Presti was faced with a decision: Serge Ibaka or James Harden. Harden wanted a max contract so signing him was the more difficult task. Ibaka wound up signing a four-year contract worth $48 million while Harden was the odd man out.
9 Orlando Magic: Hiring Otis Smith As a General Manager
Otis Smith is partly to blame for the recent lack of success Orlando has seen. Let's take a look at some of the contracts dished out during Smith's time in office: Jason Richardson, four years at $25 million, Glen Davis for four-years at $26 million and Rashard Lewis, six years at $118 million. That is a ton of cash for a bunch of guys who were out of their prime. Davis was nothing more than a role player. Richardson and Lewis had their best years come before they were members of the Magic.
8 Philadelphia 76ers: Trading Charles Barkley
7 Phoenix Suns: Forming a Trio of Point Guards For No Reason
I'm not sure what the Phoenix Suns were trying to do in 2014 but whatever it was it didn't work. With three above-average point guards, the Phoenix Suns had almost to much talent at the guard position. Isaiah Thomas, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic found themselves in a bizarre situation that forced the Suns to make a decision. On February 19th, 2015 Phoenix took part in a three-team trade that sent Dragic to the Heat and Thomas to the Celtics.
6 Portland Trail Blazers: Drafting Sam Bowie
5 Sacramento Kings: Drafting Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette had a ton of hype coming out of college. Him, Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving were the stars of the draft. Two of those players are still in the league. One isn't. Jimmer was taken with the tenth pick in the draft by Milwaukee but was traded to Sacramento shortly after. Fans quickly became obsessed with "Jimmermania" but the commotion quickly died out. Averaging seven points in three seasons, Sacramento eventually bought out his contract.
4 San Antonio Spurs: Trading Dennis Rodman
3 Toronto Raptors: Trading Vince Carter
2 Utah Jazz: Drafting Luther Wright
Luther Wright played in only 15 games in the NBA. The Jazz selected him with the 18th pick in the 1993 draft, knowing that he had dealt with mental illnesses in the past. Wright left the team after one season to get further treatment for his bipolar disorder. His story of mental illnesses, drug use and peer pressure is one that many people can learn from. Sam Cassell and Nick Van Exel were still available when Wright was selected and either one of those players could maybe have given the Jazz the final boost needed to get past the Bulls in 1997 and 1998. Emphasis on "maybe".
1 Washington Wizards: Drafting Kwame Brown
Kwame Brown might be the biggest draft bust of all time. Taken with the first pick in the 2001 draft, Brown was praised by Michael Jordan, who was serving as the team's president at the time. Brown told then-Wizards coach "If you draft me, you'll never regret it." Couldn't be farther from the truth. He averaged four points and three rebounds during his rookie season and only averaged more than 10 points once in his whole career.
The center rejected a five-year $30 million contract offer from Washington and went on to test the market as a free agent at the end of the 2004-05 season. Six more teams would give Brown a chance but his tenure in the NBA came to end after the 76ers waived him in 2013. Rumors have it that he is now attempting a comeback to the league. This news must have scared the crap out of Michael Jordan.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!