The NBA trade period is a frenetic, frenzied and sometimes farcical time of the season when franchises attempt to move the pieces of the puzzle into place. Throughout all the behind-the-scenes negotiations, bartering, leveraging and tough talking between all parties involved, all fans can do is get a bucket of popcorn, put their feet up and watch the show happen. Depending which players are put on the table for bait, it can be the most exciting and rewarding time of the year, or the most stressful.
For every dream move that happens, there is a transfer of consequence – being shifted like cattle for the purposes of circumstance. It is easy to forget the human element at this time, with athlete’s families and livelihoods having to pick up and start all over again on a whim.
The franchises struggling to keep touch with the rest of the pack will more often than not be the ones conducting the most business, with GM's waiting until the last second to get the best deal for the club. The 2015-16 period saw The Brooklyn Nets bring in 3 new faces through the draft and a staggering 6 through free agency.
But what about all of the deals that didn’t happen? With the Nets languishing on 15-41, second from last in the Eastern Conference, who knows how many more the organization was looking to shift? Without a doubt, teams down the lower end of the pecking order will miss out on huge draft talent not because the option wasn’t available, but because of simple oversight. Those “almost” deals will end up haunting them forever.
Over the years there have been plenty of the near misses come the trade period. These are the top 15 that almost came off.
15 Hakeem Olajuwon for Glen Rice/Steve Smith
14 Ralph Sampson for Clyde Drexler
13 Chris Paul for Lamar Odom
12 Isiah Thomas to NY Knicks
11 Charles Barkley for James Worthy
10 Michael Jordan to Houston Rockets
9 Wilt Chamberlain for Bobby Hull
8 Dennis Rodman for Richard Dumas
7 Scottie Pippen for Shawn Kemp
6 Julius Erving to Atlanta Hawks
5 Larry Bird to Indiana Pacers
4 Amar’e Stoudemire for Stephen Curry
3 Michael Jordan to LA Clippers
2 Kobe Bryant for Joakim Noah and Luol Deng
1 LeBron James for Kobe Bryant
Gather round the campfire folks, for this NBA trade deal that almost happened is the stuff of basketball legend. In the summer of 2007 the Lakers saw Kobe Bryant battling to fulfill the huge shoes left by Shaquille O’Neal (in every sense of the word) and thought up-and-coming Cleveland star LeBron James could do a decent job for them. Kobe stayed on won a multitude of rings while LeBron had to go to Miami to win his. That would have been a trade for the ages – high-end stock swapping hands at the elite end of the sport, doesn’t happen too often.
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