As a fan, juggling around trade scenarios is always a good source of entertainment. It gets to the point sometimes that it is baffling that our favorite teams are not making a move that seems to make so much sense. The reason is we have to account for both sides of the trade. It is easy to take into account the side of your favorite team. You see the players daily, you think you know that they are a strong player, and therefore why can't they fit elsewhere. And in return we are looking for a player that is going to change the course of the franchise. As a fan it is okay to juggle these scenarios, but in some cases even the biggest front office personnel in the world have taken an experiment to far. For that, they and their respective franchises have paid the ultimate penalty.
The NBA, maybe more so than any other sport, sees trades midseason, in the offseason and during the NBA Draft. The game caters to it. General Managers and teams can see what they are missing as the game is being played. If there is a hole in the team, it is imperative to try to fill it. Unfortunately, the chance of a trade working out for all parties is a long shot. There have been countless examples of this in the past, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers, Moses Malone to the 76ers, and below a list of more recent one-sided trades stemming from 2000 and on. Did your favorite team make a blunder, or did they get a steal?
15 Knicks Trade For Antonio McDyess
The trade: Denver trades Antonio McDyess, Frank Williams, 2003 2nd-Round Pick to the Knicks for Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson, and the 7th-overall pick (Nene).
The Knicks will make our list a few times for their early-2000s blunders. The trade occurred on draft night 2002. Antonio McDyess was an All-Star in 2000-2001 but only appeared in 10 games in 2001-2002. Even then, the Knicks felt they had seen enough to make the move. They traded Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson and what turned out to be Nene for McDyess and some pocket change. Camby would go on to win a NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in Denver, and Nene has put together a solid NBA career. McDyess ended up getting hurt in the preseason and appearing in just 18 games for the New York Knicks as they paid him more than $26 million.
14 Pacers Steal Jermaine O'Neal
The trade: Blazers trade Jermaine O'Neal and Joe Kleine to the Indiana Pacers for Dale Davis.
There was a six-year span from 2001-2007 that Jermaine O'Neal was one of the best big men in the entire NBA. Some may remember the end of his career where he was just a fill- in center. The Blazers used the 17th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft on O'Neal right out of high school. He was used sparingly as a Blazer, playing behind Rasheed Wallace, Brian Grant, and Arvydas Sabonis. So in the summer of 2000, the Blazers shipped him to Indiana. There, he thrived. O'Neal went to six straight All Star Games, made an All-NBA Team three times, and was the 2001-2002 Most Improved Player. Dale Davis would play three seasons in Portland before his career floundered out. He was a decent player, but not the player O'Neal became.
13 Tracy McGrady To Houston
The trade: Orlando Magic trade Tracy McGrady, Reece Gaines, Juwan Howard, and Tyronn Lue to the Houston Rockets for Kelvin Cato, Steve Francis, and Cuttino Mobley
You can bring on the "he never made it out of the first round" talk, but in his prime Tracy McGrady was as good a player as anyone in the NBA. This shows in his being elected into this year's Hall of Fame class. McGrady was already a proven star in Orlando, and the Rockets were able to land him for his prime. McGrady appeared in three straight All Star Games during his time in Houston, and finished top 10 in the NBA MVP voting thrice as well. The Magic got back three-time All Star Steve Francis. He put together a solid first year in Orlando, but his time in Orlando and his NBA career fizzled out shortly thereafter. A combination of poor health and poor motivation had Francis out of the league by 2008.
12 Richard Jefferson For Eddie Griffin
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The trade: The Houston Rockets trade Richard Jefferson, Brandon Armstrong, and Jason Collins to the New Jersey Nets for Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin did make a name for himself in high school and in his one year at Seton Hall, but his personal issues always seemed to get the best of him. The Rockets saw the talent and took the risk. Unfortunately, it did not come to fruition. Griffin played just 303 games in five seasons. His five seasons were interrupted by a season long suspension for substance abuse. He died at the tragically young age of 25, just months after he played his last NBA game in the 2006-07 season.
Richard Jefferson, however, put together a very good NBA career. He recently won a NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers and in his prime was a full-time starter with the New Jersey Nets. He averaged 17.4 points per game for the Nets, while besting 20 points per game twice.
11 Knicks Trade For Eddy Curry
The trade: Bulls trade Eddy Curry, Antonio Davis, 2007 1st round pick (Wilson Chandler) to the Knicks for Jermaine Jackson, Mike Sweetney, Tim Thomas, 2006 1st-round pick (LaMarcus Aldridge), 2007 1st-round pick (Joakim Noah), and a 2007 and 2009 2nd-round pick
Rather unfortunately for the Bulls, they did not hold on to LaMarcus Aldridge, but that will come later in our list. The main story here is Eddy Curry. Well, him and Isiah Thomas since he's the one that pulled off the trade. Curry had a good year in 2004-2005, but his lack of motivation and constantly being out of shape led to the Bulls shopping and eventually trading him to the Knicks. There was more of the same. Some flashes of brilliance followed but questionable behavior and lack of focus. In five seasons in NY, Curry would play just 222 games and combined for 26 total games in his last four years in the NBA.
10 Portland Lands Brandon Roy
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The trade: Timberwolves trade Brandon Roy to Portland for Randy Foye
It was short-lived, but Brandon Roy was really good. For those that don't know, he was on his way to being one of the best all-around players in the NBA before injury struck.
Roy was taken with the 6th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, and Randy Foye was taken with the 7th. Foye was actually traded twice on draft night starting with the Celtics, before moving on to Portland and then ultimately Minnesota. Although Foye showed flashes his rookie campaign en route to a NBA All-Rookie Team berth, Brandon Roy earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Foye would continue fighting for minutes for most of his career before becoming a journeyman backup guard. Roy, brief as his NBA career was, was a three-time NBA All Star (three straight) and two-time All NBA. All in just parts of five seasons with the Blazers.
9 Chris Paul To The Clippers
The trade: New Orleans Hornets trade Chris Paul, cash, and 2015 2nd-round pick to the Clippers for Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, and a 2012 1st-round pick (Austin Rivers)
Pretty cut and dry. Chris Paul is a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest point guards of this generation. Chris Kaman was once a NBA All-Star, but often makes the lists of worst players to make an All-Star Team. Austin Rivers actually ended up in LA with Chris Paul later on, but he's strictly a reserve unless CP3 is injured. Aminu is a nice role player. The Clippers instantly became a top team in the West upon Paul's arrival beside Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Unfortunately, they have not made the conference Finals, but they still won this trade.
8 James Harden Goes To Houston
The trade: OKC trades James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward, and Daequan Cook to Houston for Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin, a 2013 1st-round pick (Steven Adams), 2013 2nd round pick and 2014 1st-round pick (Mitch McGary)
The Oklahoma City Thunder had a young nucleus of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka. They felt it was time to part with either Ibaka or Harden, knowing their best two players were Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. They chose wrong. James Harden is now a top 5 player in the league and top MVP candidate. The Thunder landed Lamb who was an interesting young prospect at the time, but never worked out. Kevin Martin tried to fill the 6th man role, but he just wasn't James Harden. The best asset OKC received was the 2013 1st round pick that ended up being Steven Adams. A nice center but Houston obviously got the better of this deal.
7 Isaiah Thomas Goes To Boston
The trade: It is a little bit more complex than this but basically the Celtics traded Marcus Thornton and a 2016 protected 1st-round pick in exchange for Isaiah Thomas.
Isaiah Thomas had a tough time finding a home early in his career. Call him a defensive liability all you want, but the 5-foot-8 point guard has now turned into a top scorer and clutch performer in the league. The last pick in the 2011 draft by the Sacramento Kings, Thomas became a 20 ppg scorer by his third season. It still wasn't enough for the Kings to make him a part of their future and he was dealt to the Suns. They again would trade him after 46 games even though he averaged over 15 ppg in just 25 minutes per night. In Boston, he has become a MVP candidate and "Mr Fourth Quarter". Marcus Thornton has continued his journey through the NBA. Celtics win and it won't be the last time on this list.
6 LaMarcus Aldridge For Tyrus Thomas
The trade: Bulls trade LaMarcus Aldridge and a 2007 2nd-round pick to the Blazers for Viktor Khryapa and Tyrus Thomas
The Bulls really could have won the Eddy Curry trade and probably earned the number 1 spot on this list had they not made this move. Tyrus Thomas displayed superb athleticism at LSU, and he had teams fall in love with him. Most of his career highs did occur in Chicago before he moved to Charlotte and Memphis but they were nothing to write home about. Thomas' career highs consist of 10.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.9 bpg, and 27.5 mpg. Aldridge went on to sport career numbers of 19.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg, and 34.7 mpg. He also added five NBA All-Star Games and four All-NBA Teams.
5 Portland Turns Gerald Wallace Into Damian Lillard
The trade: Nets trade 2012 1st-round draft pick (Damian Lillard), Mehmet Okur, and Shawne Williams to Portland for Gerald Wallace
Before they traded away their future for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Nets were already ruining their franchise. In 2012 they decided to trade their 1st round draft pick in exchange for Gerald Wallace. Wallace finished the season with the Nets by averaging 15.2 points. The following season he came back with 7.7 and was gone a year later. Damian Lillard has become the Blazers franchise cornerstone. At age 26, Lillard is a 2 time NBA All Star, 2 time All NBA, and NBA Rookie of the Year. The Blazers have landed on the right side of a few trades. Unfortunate that it has not led to more success.
4 Cavaliers Get Kyrie Irving
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The trade: Clippers trade 2011 1st-round pick (Kyrie Irving) and Baron Davis to the Cavaliers for Jamario Moon and Mo Williams
Ouch. Some bad luck here. The Clippers were able to dump Baron Davis' salary on the Cavaliers. But the CBA that year turned out to allow the Cavaliers to dump Davis under the new amnesty clause. Then there was the fact that the Clippers' pick really was only 8th most likely to land the top overall pick. Well, it ended up happening and the Cavaliers landed Kyrie Irving while the Clippers took on a declining Mo Williams who never was the All-Star he became in Cleveland. Irving has helped LeBron James bring a NBA Championship to Cleveland and is one of the top point guards in the league today. Well played, Cavaliers.
3 Kevin Love For OJ Mayo
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The trade: Memphis trades Kevin Love, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins, and Mike Miller to the Timberwolves for Greg Buckner, Marko Jaric, OJ Mayo, and Antoine Walker
More pieces involved, but the center pieces were Kevin Love and OJ Mayo. Mayo entered college with an abundance of hype and it carried through in some franchises' eyes when he entered the draft. Love was the 5th pick and Mayo the 3rd. The teams worked out a deal and unlike Mayo, Love was able to restore some faith in his respective franchise. The T'wolves did not make the playoffs under Kevin Love's leadership but they did come back to respectable form and eventually Love was sent to the Cavs for a 1st-overall pick that became Andrew Wiggins. Love just won his first championship in Cleveland and OJ Mayo is currently serving a two-year suspension.
2 Celtics Get The Nets' Future
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The trade: Celtics trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and DJ White to the Brooklyn Nets for Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace and 2014, 2016, 2018 1st-round picks.
If you keep wondering how the Celtics are continuously drafting in the top of the NBA Draft despite being a playoff team and this year having the number 1 seed, this is why. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov promised a championship team within five years of buying the Nets. He already had added Deron Williams the year before and had Brook Lopez at center. The Nets thought they were landing a super team. Joe Johnson was also in the mix as well. Well, it never worked. Each star was on the decline, some more than others. Meanwhile the Celtics picked 3rd in 2016 and are poised to pick number 1 overall in 2017. Chances are they land another top 3 pick in 2018. Meanwhile, they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, and are sure to be even better next year.
1 Kawhi Leonard For George Hill
The trade: Indiana Pacers trade Kawhi Leonard, Davis Bertans, Erazem Lorbek to the Spurs for George Hill
The Celtics could land atop our list depending on how these upcoming drafts go, but for now the fact that the Spurs landed their next franchise player for a journeyman point guard takes the spot. There were even throw-ins that came along with Leonard. George Hill is a nice player and he helped Gordon Hayward get the Utah Jazz back in the playoffs, but currently Kawhi Leonard has entered league MVP discussions, and has already added a NBA Finals MVP to his resume. Leonard also has the titles of NBA Champion, two-time NBA All-Star, All-NBA First Team, two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, and three All-Defensive teams. The Pacers made a couple nice runs with Hill at point, but not to the extent that Leonard has and will have with the Spurs.