The 2017 NBA trade deadline is now in the rear-view mirror and not much happened in the last week and a half leading up to it. A number of star players such as Jimmy Butler and Paul George were rumored to be on the move but the trades never came to fruition. Overall the trades that did go down were pretty lackluster. Lou Williams, Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson are some of the players that are now wearing different jerseys (there was another big name traded last week as well but we'll get to that in a bit). Williams was sent to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round draft pick. The Lakers really had no use for Williams and he actually might have been hurting the team since they are no where near contention and are playing for ping pong balls at this point. Noel is on his way to Dallas after being exchanged for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a first-round draft pick. Gibson was traded just before the deadline passed and was sent to Oklahoma City along with teammate Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round draft pick for Anthony Morrow, Cameron Payne and Joffrey Lauvergne.
Fans of these teams will have their opinions on the recent acquisitions, but their have been trades in the past that are much worse than anything we've seen in the past few weeks. Every team has their own agenda when it comes to winning a championship. Sticking to those agendas is nearly impossible which is why risks are taken; those risks often come in the form of trades. Some trades work out and some don't. The ones that don't work out make us ask ourselves "Why on earth was this trade made?" Here are some of the more lopsided trades that we've seen occur involving players in the league today.
15 Boston Trades Joe Johnson After One Season
After declaring for the 2001 NBA Draft, Joe Johnson was taken by the Boston Celtics with the 10th overall pick from a field of players that really wasn't all that great. The following season Boston found themselves finishing third in the Eastern Conference and were once again contenders in the league. Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce did most of the heavy lifting for the team while Johnson played in just over half of the games that season. He averaged 6.3 points on 20 minutes per game.
The numbers weren't eye catching and Boston decided to send him to Phoenix along with Randy Brown, Milt Palacio and a first-round pick (Casey Jacobsen) for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk. Johnson would become one of the better scores in the league averaging 20 points per game during his seven seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. No one can predict the future but the Celtics could have noticed that Rogers and Delk weren't that great for the teams they previously played for.
14 Deron Williams Leaves Utah for New Jersey
Deron Williams was at one point a top point guard in the NBA. The past few years have been pretty rough on Williams as a number of injuries have hampered the guards play with Dallas the past two seasons. The Jazz drafted Williams in 2005 and they made the playoffs four times while he was on the team. By 2011 the team was starting to slip and quickly fell out of playoff contention which prompted the trade that sent the third overall pick to New Jersey. He was traded to the Nets for guard Devin Harris, forward Derrick Favors, two first round draft picks (Enes Kanter and Gorgui Dieng), and $3 million in cash.
The Nets thought they were getting a star player in Williams but his status quickly deteriorated and he wound up being waived by the team in 2015. That's two decent draft picks sent away by the Nets.
13 Rajon Rondo Causes More Headaches in Dallas
There's always a chance that Rondo is going to disrupt the chemistry on a team when he first steps foot into the locker room. His time in Dallas was a good example of this. The Mavericks were looking for a suitable point guard midway through the 2014-15 season and thought that Rondo would be a good fit for them. Boston was in the process of rebuilding their team which made Rondo expendable as a torn ACL the year before was starting to have an affect on his game. Dallas sent over Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, a top-seven-protected 2016 first-round pick and a 2016 second-round pick. Boston split ties with Rondo and Dwight Powell.
Rondo only lasted one season with Dallas and in that season he butted heads multiple times with head coach Rick Carlisle. Boston got a hidden gem in Jae Crowder who is now starting for the team and is one of the better players on a roster that is looking to make some noise in the playoffs this year. There's always that added risk when it comes to signing Rondo to your team.
12 Tyson Chandler Shows Why Chicago Made a Mistake
The Bulls have made some really head scratching moves over the past few years. One of them involved Tyson Chandler, who was drafted by the Clippers in 2001 but was traded to Chicago for Elton Brand shortly after. Chandler was brought in to form a twin-tower tag team alongside Eddy Curry but both players were severely underwhelming. Curry was traded to New York in 2005 with Chandler following suit the year after just with a different team. After signing Ben Wallace GM John Paxson made it clear that Chandler could possibly be on the move. Chicago would end up sending him to New Orleans for J.R. Smith and P.J. Brown. Brown was 37 years old at the time and played only one season for the team while Smith was traded to Denver just six days after the first trade went down.
Chandler would go on to win a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. He was also named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and was selected to his first All-Star game in 2013. That's a lot for to give up for two guys who didn't play more than two seasons combined for your team.
11 Damian Lillard Winds Up in Portland Instead of New Jersey
According to The Iron Sheik, Gerald Wallace looks like Eddie Murphy. Now that we got that out of the way lets move on to the trade that Wallace and Damian Lillard were involved in. Wallace had some decent years in the league but a majority of them came on crappy teams (most of them with the Charlotte Bobcats). The New Jersey Nets thought Wallace was a decent player and decided to trade for him in 2012. They thought so highly of him that they gave up Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and New Jersey's protected 2012 first-round pick. It might not sound like a lot but based on what that pick turned into it definitely is.
The conditional draft pick turned out to be Damian Lillard. Lillard was taken with the 6th overall pick in the draft and has shown to be a much better player than Wallace ever was during his career. Apparently the Nets really don't care about draft picks seeing as they give them out like candy all the time.
10 The New Jersey Nets Steal Vince Carter
Vince Carter has had some of his best years in the NBA come with the New Jersey Nets. His unreal dunks were stealing the show up in Toronto but Carter was getting frustrated with the lack of production from the rest of his teammates. The Raptors only made the playoffs twice during Carter's six and a half year tenure with the team and in 2004 he requested a trade to help raise his chances of winning a championship. New Jersey sent over Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams, a 2005 first-round pick (Joey Graham) and a 2006 first-round pick (Renaldo Balkman) for Vince Carter. It might seem like a lot to give up for one player but Alonzo Mourning was in the twilight of his career and the Williams (no relation) were non-factors on basically every team they played for.
It's crazy to think that "Vinsanity" is still rocking the rim in 2017.
9 The Gasol Brothers Swap Teams
The trade involving the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers would be higher on the list if it wasn't for Marc Gasol. In 2008 Pau Gasol was already well established in the NBA having averaged 18.8 points per game in his first seven seasons in the league. The Lakers were looking to fill the void at the center position after Andrew Bynum suffered a knee injury and was ruled out for the season in January. Pau would be the one to make up for Bynum's absence and he made up for him in a big way. He made his way to California after being traded by the Grizzlies in early February. I'm sure he wasn't too upset about getting the chance to play for one of the most historic teams in the league.
Los Angeles traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, a 2008 first-round pick (Donte Green), and a 2010 first-round pick (Greivis Vasquez) in exchange for Pau and a 2010 second-round draft pick (Devin Ebanks). The one name that stands out from that group is Marc Gasol. While the younger brother is an All-Star center today, his transformation into one of the best front-court players didn't happen overnight. This is why the trade was so uneven nine years ago. I mean look at the rest of the talent, or lack thereof, that Memphis received. The story of Kwame Brown has been told multiple times. Javaris Crittenton was sent to the Wizards after one season in Memphis. Pau, alongside Kobe Bryant, went on to win back-to-back championships the next two seasons. The only saving grace from this trade for Memphis was Marc Gasol. Good thing he didn't end up like Kwame Brown.
8 Zach Randolph Continues to Outshine Quentin Richardson
It's not often that you see a two players get swapped for one another without any sort of cash or draft picks thrown in as well. However Zach Randolph and Quentin Richardson were part of a trade just like that back in 2009. Randolph has been one of the most reliable power forwards in the league and has contributed significantly to every team he's played for. Richardson (10 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.5 APG) played for six different teams and barely did anything for them. After playing just one season in Los Angeles, the Clippers decided to trade "Z-Bo" to Memphis for Quentin Richardson. Randolph has become one of the best players to ever represent the Grizzlies and has averaged a double-double (16.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG) in his eight seasons with the team.
Richardson has been out of the league for four years now despite the fact that he was drafted a year before Randolph was. At least one player in the trade was able to make a name for himself.
7 James Harden is Sent Off to Houston
James Harden or Serge Ibaka? GM Sam Presti was faced with this situation back in 2012 when the Thunder were forced to make a decision on who to keep in Oklahoma City. Ibaka was first in line and was given a four-year $49 million extension. Harden wanted a max contract. Plain and simple. Since Ibaka had already taken up a majority of the cap room, Presti was unable to offer Harden a max contract like he desired. Instead they offered him four years and $55 million. Harden turned it down and was shipped off to Houston in a deal that has basketball fans still wondering what OKC would be like if he stayed. The Rockets acquired Harden, Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward for nothing. Okay it wasn't actually nothing but at this point it seems like it. OKC got Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, a 2013 first-round pick (Steven Adams), a 2013 second-round draft pick (Alex Abrines) and a future first-round pick from the Dallas Mavericks.
Martin lasted only one season in OKC and Lamb wasn't much of a contributing factor (7.0 PPG, 15.7 MPG) during his three years with the team. Steven Adams is turning out to be one of the better centers in the NBA but he's nowhere near the level of James Harden. Harden has 15 triple-doubles this year and could very well be the MVP once the season wraps up. Westbrook and Harden probably wouldn't have the crazy amount of triple-doubles they have this season if they were still playing together, but there's no doubt that the two would make for a scary duo in the Western Conference.
6 Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are Way Overvalued by Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Nets are currently the worst team in the NBA and their management are partly to blame for their terrible play this season. First-round draft picks are like gold to basketball franchises. Teams should do everything in their power to acquire them and only give them up if the offer being shown is of equal value. Brooklyn doesn't quite understand that concept. After the team moved to Brooklyn in 2012, owner Mikhail Prokhorov made a trade for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett that would basically doom the organization for years to come. The two Celtic greats, who were already in their mid-30s, were sent to Brooklyn along with Jason Terry and D.J White. In return Boston got a boat load of draft picks (three unprotected first-round draft picks for 2014, 2016 and 2018, and the right to swap first-round picks in 2017), Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and Keith Bogans.
The players sent to Boston weren't the important part of the trade since the team was rebuilding at the time; It's the draft picks that really stood out. The 2014 pick James Young has been forgotten at this point but the 2016 pick Jaylen Brown is starting to show his potential. Since the Celtics have the right to swap picks in this year's draft, another fine rookie addition might be coming to the team sooner than later. Brooklyn gave up any chance of rebuilding with this trade.
5 The Kings Finally Trade DeMarcus Cousins
It was a move that's been in the making for quite some time now and it finally happened. Everyone knew that DeMarcus Cousins was the best player on the Kings and that his supporting cast was less than adequate. Cousins was taken fifth overall by Sacramento in the 2010 NBA Draft. The team failed to make the playoffs every year that "Boogie" played for them and it was clear that the All-Star center was not the best fit for the team. After years of speculation, Vlade Divak finally pulled the trigger and traded Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans on February 20th, 2017. Trading away someone like Boogie should warrant some decent talent in exchange right? Not exactly. In return Sacramento received Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, and 2017 first-round and second-round draft picks.
That's not really much for Kings fans to be excited about. In a media scrum held a few days after the trade, Divak told reporters that he had a better trade two days before the initial move went down. There's two questions to ask about this situation: What did that other trade involve and why was Cousins sent away days before the trade deadline? The Kings still had three days to field offers from other teams and they more than likely would have gotten a better deal. At least Buddy Hield is getting some high praise from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive. He thinks that Hield has the potential to be the next Stephen Curry. We'll just see about that.
4 The Cavaliers Steal Kyrie Irving From Los Angeles
Imagine if Kyrie Irving was playing for the Clippers right now. Pairing him and Blake Griffin would be pretty interesting but we'll most likely never see that happen since Los Angeles traded away the draft pick that Cleveland used to grab Irving in 2011. The Clippers were looking to clear some cap space heading into the 2011 draft. To do this they sent Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to L.A. for Baron Davis and a unprotected first-round pick in that said draft. The Clippers had a 2.8 percent chance of winning the number one pick and they did just that. Too bad they had to give it up.
Cleveland took Irving and changed the landscape for the NBA for years to come. The Duke product helped bring back LeBron James to the Cavaliers as he was one of the lone bright spots on the team for several years. Last season James and Irving brought Cleveland its first professional sports title since 1964 when the Cleveland Browns won the National Football League championship game. We'll see if they can repeat their success this year once the playoffs come around.
3 Milwaukee Trades Robert Traylor For Dirk Nowitzki
Imagine if the Milwaukee Bucks held onto Dirk Nowitzki. Many forget that Nowitzki was originally taken by the Bucks in 1998 but was traded to the Dallas Mavericks shortly after. The Mavericks drafted the late Robert "Tractor" Traylor with the 6th pick in the draft but made the decision to send him to Milwaukee for Dirk Nowitzki and Pat Garrity. Both Traylor and Nowitzki played power forward. That's pretty much where the similarities between the two ends. The husky Traylor didn't play a large role on the three teams he played for (Bucks, Cavaliers and Hornets) and he never averaged more than 18 MPG during his seven seasons in the league. May god let him get buckets in the great beyond.
Dirk on the other hand is still playing and has had a magnificent career. He was the MVP of the league in 2007 and he led the Mavericks to the franchises first title in 2011.
With 13 All-Star selections, Nowitzki may easily be the best international player the league has ever seen. When it's all said and done Nowiztki will go down as one of the greatest power forwards of all time. That's quite the acknowledgement considering the fact that he played in the same era as Tim Duncan.
2 Kawhi Leonard Ends Up a Spur Instead of a Pacer
Kawhi Leonard is good. Really good. During Tim Duncan's later years in the NBA it became clear that Kawhi Leonard was going to become the best player on the team once Timmy hung them up for good. The two won a championship together in 2014, avenging a brutal finals loss from the year before to the Miami Heat. Leonard was named the MVP of the finals that year and has played in two consecutive All-Star games in 2016 and 2017. Of course none of this may have happened if the Indiana Pacers didn't trade him in 2011. The Pacers selected Leonard with the 15th overall pick but traded him to the Spurs, along with the rights to Erazem Lorbek and Davis Bertans, for point guard George Hill.
Hill hasn't had a bad career in the NBA but it's nothing compared to what Leonard has accomplished thus far. The question now is whether or not San Antonio has enough to compete with Golden State as the two look to be the favorites for the Western Conference Finals.
1 Chicago Wishes They Never Traded LaMarcus Aldridge
This is one of the worst trades in NBA history. LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the best power forwards in the game today. Tyrus Thomas is no longer in the league and didn't accomplish much during his nine years in the NBA, averaging just 7.7 points per game. The 2006 NBA Draft was one of the worst drafts the league has ever seen. Here's a a re-draft of the first round for those who are interested. Aldridge was taken second by Chicago in that draft. They made the horrible decision to trade him moments later for Thomas who was selected fourth by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Chicago clearly should have stuck to their guns since Aldridge is now a five-time All-Star and Thomas played in just 129 games before teams realized he wasn't very good. One thing for sure is that the Bulls would be drastically different today if they held onto Aldridge 11 years ago.