The Worst Trade By Every Team in NBA History

Sports revolve in cycles. One team cannot remain a dominant force for too long because the trade period is a great market leveler for franchises that need to get the needle moving in the right direction. Too much money is at stake, let alone the limited window for coaches, players and owners to try and lift that championship trophy while they still have the chance. The NBA can be a fickle, cynical business at the best of times, yet you can’t blame people for trying to reach for glory.

But in order to chase that dream, people make horrible decisions by panicking for a short term deal or overthinking a trade that no one else sees. Looking back over the history of the NBA, some of the biggest names in the sport have been the subject of franchise-worst trades. From Julius Erving and Patrick Ewing toJames Harden and Wilt Chamberlain, decisions at board room level can leave a lot to be desired in hindsight. They are always made with the best of intentions but when they cannot see the wood from the trees, the fans are the ones left suffering as they have to put up flops and empty seats over a long campaign.

The draft and the trade window is where the smart clubs become top clubs and where lazy clubs falter. Owners that butt in to get the sexy name or to cut their losses usually end up with egg on their face. Every franchise has been guilty of stuffing up and here at TheSportster, we’ve discovered the worst trades for all 30 clubs.

30 Atlanta Hawks – Bill Russell


29 Boston Celtics – Joe Johnson


28 Brooklyn Nets – Julius Erving


27 Charlotte Hornets – Vlade Divac


26 Chicago Bulls – LaMarcus Aldridge

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

25 Cleveland Cavaliers – Don Ford


24 Dallas Mavericks – Jason Kidd

Kidd via: / Finley via:

23 Denver Nuggets – Carmelo Anthony

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

22 Detroit Pistons – Bill Curley 


21 Golden State Warriors – Wilt Chamberlain


20 Houston Rockets – Moses Malone


19 Indiana Pacers – Stephen Jackson


18 Los Angeles Clippers – Austin Rivers

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

17 Los Angeles Lakers – Steve Nash

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

16 Memphis Grizzlies – Steve Francis


15 Miami Heat – Mario Chalmers

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

14 Milwaukee Bucks – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


13 Minnesota Timberwolves – Al Jefferson

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

12 New Orleans Pelicans – Emeka Okafor


11 New York Knicks – Patrick Ewing


10 Oklahoma City Thunder – James Harden

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

9 Orlando Magic – Gilbert Arenas


8 Philadelphia 76ers – Charles Barkley


7 Phoenix Suns – Stephon Marbury


6 Portland Trail Blazers – Shawn Kemp


5 Sacramento Kings – Ed Pinckney

Otto Greule /Allsport

4 San Antonio Spurs – Richard Jefferson

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

3 Toronto Raptors – Vince Carter


2 Utah Jazz – Gordan Giricek


1 Washington Wizards – Ricky Rubio

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The 2009 draft class was a good one. Amongst the College graduates coming through were James Harden, Blake Griffin, Steph Curry and talented Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio. Washington’s decision to give away their No. 5 pick to the Timberwolves for Randy Foye and Mike Miller was incredibly short sighted. Not only would they prove to be busts, but Rubio (or the potential selection of Steph Curry who went two picks later) would have solved a lot of the Wizards issues.

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The Worst Trade By Every Team in NBA History