A blockbuster trade, when done right can set your franchise up for years of success. Unfortunetly usually when one side wins a trade like that, one team is decimiated by the same deal. In this list we will touch on the 20 biggest blockbuster trades in sports history
Fans love and hate blockbuster trades, they are very much a boom or bust type of move. Every plausible reason for making a big move are included in this article. Whether it be like the Oilers desperate need for cash forcing them to trade "The Great One" and in a similar move the Boston Red Sox trading "The Great Bambino" to the hated Yankees' so the owner can fund his failing businesses. Or a team like the Dallas Cowboys' realizing Herschel Walker was getting older and it would be best to cash out at a high value.
Some teams have no choice but to make a change. The Lakers' stars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal could not co-exist anymore leaving the Lakers with the impossible choice of trading one of them, which they did sending Shaq to the Miami Heat.
Then there are teams that seemingly shoot themselves in the foot, making a huge trade with absolutely no issues with the current team. The Mets seemingly gave up on Tom Server for no reason. Each trade here made headlines around the sports world. I chose not to include soccer transfers on this list, as they are basically teams paying another team for the players which doesn't classify as a trade in my books.
So lets get ready to go back through the history books as we take a look at the 20 biggest blockbuster trades in sports history!
20 20. James Harden To The Rockets
19 19. The Athletics Trade Mark McGwire
18 18. The Mets Trade Tom Seaver
17 17. New Orleans Trades Chris Paul
16 16. The Mariners Trade Randy Johnson
15 15. The Marlins Trade Miguel Cabera
14 14. The BlackHawks Trade Max Bentley
13 13. The Timberwolves Trade Kevin Garnett
The Boston Celtics were struggling . The once very proud franchise had gone through some pretty tough times in the early 2000s. That cycle of mediocrity was too much for Celtics President Danny Ainge, so on July 1, 2008 Ainge took a bold step. He dealt Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff and Sebastian Telfair, along with two first round picks in the 2009 NBA Draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett. Ainge gave up a lot but Garnett paid instant dividends, by teaming up with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to lead the Celtics to their first NBA title since 1986. The Timberwolves have yet to make the playoff since the trade.
12 12. The Warriors Trade Kevin Mchale and Robert Parish
11 11. The Reds Trade Frank Robinson
10 10. Both Phil Esposito Trades
Phil Esposito was flourishing in Chicago, but after drunkenly berating the team's management at a party, GM Tommy Ivan traded Espo to the Boston Bruins, along with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield for Gilles Marotte, Pit Martin and Jack Norris. Needless to say the Bruins won this trade, as Esposito would become one of the greatest forwards of all time.
Heading into the 1975-76 season, Phil Esposito was one of the best hockey players in the world. In the seven years prior he averaged 130 points/season,. He led the league in scoring on five separate occasions. With Esposito leading the way Boston won the Stanley Cup in '70 and '72, with Esposito winning the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) in '69 and '74. Despite all these accolades the Bruins decided to move their star scorer, packaging him with Carol Vadnais and sending him to rivals the New York Rangers (there were only six teams they were all rivals.)
9 9. The Dodgers Trade Pedro Martinez to Montreal
8 8. The Colts Trade John Elway
The Baltimore Colts knew they were taking a huge risk drafting John Elway. He had said he would never play for the Colts and would rather go play baseball then ever suit up as a colt. Still the Colts were desperate for a Quarterback so they made Elway the first overall pick of the 1983 draft. Elway drew the line in the sand and refused to sign with the Colts. On May 2 Colts owner Robert Irsay and GM Ernie Accorsi agreed to trade Elway for #4th overall pick in 1983 Chris Hinton, backup quarterback Mark Herrmann, and a first-round pick in 1984 (used to select Ron Solt).
7 7. The Rams Trade Eric Dickerson
The 1987 trade may have included four players and six draft picks but Eric Dickerson was the principal reason for the blockbuster move. During his time in Los Angeles which spanned from 1983 to 1987, the 1983 NFL MVP made it to four Pro Bowls and led the league in rushing on three separate occasions ('83, '84 and '86). Yet despite his on-field dominance, contract disputes convinced the Rams to part ways with the best 'back on the planet. The complicated trade broke down like this.
6 6. The 76ers Trade Wilt Chamberlain
5 5. Montreal Trades Patrick Roy To Colorado
Just 23 games into the 1995-96 hockey season, Patrick Roy and Montreal head coach Mario Tremblay had a major falling out after Tremblay left Roy in for 9 goals in a game. Roy came off the ice and told Canadiens President Ronald Corey, who was sitting behind the bench, "It's my last game in Montreal."
4 4. The Dallas Cowboys Trade Herschel Walker
3 3. The Bucks Trade Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
2 2. The Red Sox Trade Babe Ruth
1 1. The Edmonton Oilers Trade Wayne Gretzky
This was a sale more so than a trade but you can't exclude it. The Oilers were facing financial troubles and L.A. Kings owner Bruce McNall knew this and offered big bucks for the Oilers star player. Other pieces were added of course but this strictly broke down to Wayne Gretzky being sold for $15 million. The Oilers acquired Jimmy Carson, winger Martin Gelinas, first-round draft picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993, and $15 million. No matter what the Oilers received for The Great One it wouldn't have been enough. The arrival of Gretzky brought new excitement to hockey all over the USA.
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