Tip of the hat to Jack Chen for inspiring me to write this piece.
In the NBA, there are certain moments that have you scratching your head. One subject that captures this very well is trades. The media and fans love when trades happen, it strikes up around-the-cooler conversations, some of which can get heated. Particularly in the case of a lopsided swap. Some trades seem extremely one-sided upon first glance, others turn to be out later down the line as a player(s) develops into a star. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 most one-sided dealings in the past 15 years:
5a. Phoenix Suns trade Steve Nash to the Dallas Mavericks for Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells, draft rights to Pat Garrity, and 1st round pick(who turned out to be Shawn Marion). - I didn't want to omit this, so I made an excuse to throw this in here. In a sense, this trade isn't so bad due to the fact Marion turned out to be an All-Star forward. But Nash rose to stardom in Dallas, has two MVP's under his belt, and is a future HOFer widely regarded as one of the best point guards ever. Nash teamed up with Dirk Nowitzki to give the Mavs a lethal 1-2 punch. The team took off with Nash as a permanent starter in 2000-01, which is impressive considering they had 10 consecutive losing seasons prior.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves trade Sam Cassell and a protected 1st round pick for Marko Jaric(sign and trade) and Lionel Chalmers - At the time of the trade, Jaric was seen as an up and coming young point guard. Sam Cassell had apparently worn out his welcome in Minny. Little did anyone know what was about to happen. Cassell ended up guiding the Clippers to a 47-35 record, a trip to the Western Conference Semifinals(where they lost in 7), and perhaps the most successful season in franchise history. That alone won the deal for the Clippers. However, the icing on the cake is the 1st rounder. It has been protected all this time and becomes unprotected in 2012. And given the Wolves' current situation, it is highly possible it will be a high lottery pick. Jaric went on to have a pedestrian few years in Minny and last played in the NBA in 2009...on the bright side, he does have Adriana Lima.
4. Charlotte Hornets trade draft rights to Kobe Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac - Some may argue this was the worst trade ever, but Divac was actually a very productive player for many years and is a pioneer for Yugoslavian/Serbian basketball. He had some nice years in LA, Charlotte, and then Sacramento where he was a vital part of those high octane Kings squads. He is also one of the best passing big men of all time, therefore I have a hard time ranking this trade any higher. Kobe, on the other hand, shot to superstardom in LA and has since become one of the greatest players of all-time. I think his story has been well-documented.
3. Los Angeles Lakers trade Shaquille O'neal to the Miami Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, and a 1st round pick. - The self-proclaimed "MDE" had his talents taken to South Beach and Miami can't thank the Lakers enough. He and Dwyane Wade teamed up to win a championship in 2006. At the time of the trade, Shaq was still in his prime, if not close to it, and had an effective first two seasons in Miami. Many thought the Lakers could've fetched more in return for a player of his caliber. Butler was probably the best of the bunch, but was eventually traded for Kwame Brown.
2. Memphis Grizzlies trade Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, draft rights to Marc Gasol, and 2008 and 2010 1st round picks. - Widely considered the heist of the century in the basketball circle(or a gift from former Lakers GM Jerry West), the Lakers took it and ran with it. And all it got them was two NBA titles. Pau Gasol is considered one of, if not the most skilled big men in the game today. In hindsight, Memphis didn't do too bad, as Marc Gasol has developed into a pretty good player, but Kwame Brown and Javaris Crittenton didn't do anything in their time there.
1. Milwaukee Bucks trade drafts right to Dirk Nowitzki and Pat Garrity to the Dallas Mavericks for draft rights to Robert "Tractor" Traylor. - Easily takes the cake(pun intended) as most lopsided trade in recent memory. Tractor averaged a remedial 4.8ppg and 3.7rpg in his short career, having played his last NBA game at age 27. Dirk Nowitzki is still playing, has one MVP on his resume, mutiple All-Star appearances among other accolades, and is widely viewed as the best shooting big man in NBA history. This trade is the definition of highway robbery.
What do you think were the most lopsided trades ever?
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