With the NBA trade deadline closing in fast, there are a lot of teams that are looking to move assets in order to become stronger. Other teams that are re-building are looking to build for the future, so they trade their stars away.
Some teams actually need to clear some cap space in order to attract some big names in the upcoming free agency this summer. And some are willing to take in big contracts, but always paired with future draft picks. However, there is always the situation where players don’t get along with one another or the coach, so a move must be made.
In any case, we have seen a lot of mid-season trades go down over the years, but some of them were rushed, or straight up horrible. Here is a list of the 10 mid-season trades that didn’t benefit any of the involved teams:
Dikembe Mutombo to the 76ers: The Sixers pulled a really nice move here, as they offloaded Kukoc who was way past his prime, an often injured Theo Ratliff and a young Nazr Mohammed, for one of the best defenders the game has ever seen. They finished the season with the best record in the Eastern Conference and found themselves in the Finals that season. Atlanta failed to make the playoff until seven years have passed.
Tim Hardaway to the Heat: The Warriors haven’t always made the best of decisions. Back in 1996, they sent Tim Hardaway and Chris Gatling to the Heat, in exchange for Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles. Tim Hardaway turned the Heat into a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors didn’t make the playoffs in more than a decade after this transfer.
10. Kevin Johnson to the Suns (1988)
Suns got: Kevin Johnson, Tyrone Corbin, Mark West, a 1988 1st round pick (Dan Majerle), a 1988 2nd round pick (Dean Garrett), and a 1989 2nd round pick (Greg Grant)
Cavs got: Larry Nance, Mike Sanders and a 1988 1st round pick (Randolph Keys)
The Phoenix Suns decided to trade away the aging Larry Nance at that year, and the Cavaliers took the bait. The Suns got younger with Kevin Johnson and the pick that turned into Dan Majerle and paired them up with Charles Barkley to make a contender team. The Cavaliers did nothing special with Larry Nance and remained in obscurity.
9. Chris Webber to the 76ers (2005)
76ers got: Chris Webber, Matt Barnes and Michael Bradley
Kings got: Brian Skinner, Corliss Williamson and Kenny Thomas
Chris Webber was a dominant force in his time with the Sacramento Kings, but a series of injuries and more importantly a surgery to fix a micro-fracture stripped him off his athletic abilities. The 76ers thought that pairing him with Allen Iverson would bring them to the playoffs, and it did, but they lost in the first round to Detroit. They failed to make the playoffs the following year and had to buy Chris Webber out in 2007. The Kings have also failed to reach the post-season since 2006.
8. Shaquille O’Neal to the Suns (2008)
Suns got: Shaquille O’Neal
Heat got: Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks
The Suns thought that bringing in a dominant force in the paint would make them a contender.
However, an aging and injury-ridden Shaquille O’Neal was far from the perfect fit for a fast-paced Suns offense. They only made the playoffs only after he was traded away, reaching the Western Conference Finals the following year.
7. Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder (2011)
Thunder got: Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson
Celtics got: Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, a 2012 1st Round Pick (Fab Melo) and cash
The Boston Celtics were thin on the forwards and hoped that Jeff Green would fill that void, so they sent two of their oldest players to the Thunder. Jeff Green did not help at all that season, while Nenad Krstic was a shell of his former self. The Thunder didn’t really benefit from Perkins or Robinson either.
6. Jeff Hornacek to the Jazz (1994)
Jazz got: Jeff Hornacek, Sean Green and a 1995 2nd round pick (Junior Burrough)
76ers got: Jeff Malone and a 1994 1st round pick (B.J. Tyler)
The Utah Jazz were already rolling greatly before the addition of Jeff Hornacek, but they struggled in the playoffs. They had been eliminated in the first round five times in ten seasons. The addition of Hornacek gave them a solid scorer, and the Jazz not only made it pas the first round in six of the seven seasons with Hornacek but also made it to the Finals twice – losing both to the Bulls.
The Sixers got an aging Jeff Malone who played only 71 matches in his three seasons there, and B.J. Tyler who ended his own career when he fell asleep with an ice-pack on his knee.
5. Steve Francis to the Knicks (2006)
Knicks got: Steve Francis
Magic got: Anfernee Hardaway and Trevor Ariza
Steve Francis was put on the trading block when he refused to re-enter a game, and we all know how hard was to cope with. The Knicks decided to send Trevor Ariza who had not been anything special, and Penny Hardaway back to the Magic, in an attempt to create a strong backcourt of Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury. Hardaway was waived by the Magic, and Francis would wreak havoc on the Knicks, so no one really benefited from that trade.
4. Ray Allen to the Sonics (2003)
Sonics got: Ray Allen, Ronald Murray, Kevin Ollie and a 2003 1st round pick (Luke Ridnour)
Bucks got: Gary Payton and Desmond Mason
I don’t know what the Bucks were thinking in this trade, but the Sonics didn’t get a good deal either, as it turned out. This is a classic example of a trade gone bad for both teams, despite exchanging superstars in the process. The Bucks have never made it past the first round of the playoffs since then, while they lost Payton to free agency the following summer. The Sonics only made the playoffs once in the four years with Ray Allen. Both players eventually got their rings, but with different teams.
3. Pau Gasol to the Lakers (2008)
Lakers got: Pau Gasol and a 2nd round pick (Devin Ebanks)
Memphis got: Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, a 2008 1st round pick (Donte Greene) and a 2010 1st round pick (Greivis Vazquez)
This is by far the biggest steal in the history of the NBA, at least by the time it was made. The Lakers grabbed two more titles with Pau, while they had to sacrifice so few assets. Marc Gasol might be better than Pau at this point, but back then, the trade was almost a joke. This would be higher on our list if not for the emergence of Marc in recent years. The Grizzlies got some non-factor players, the biggest bust of the century in Kwame Brown, and Javaris Crittenton who is now in jail for murder. Is this real life?
2. Clyde Drexler to the Rockets (1995)
Rockets got: Clyde Drexler and Tracy Murray
Blazers got: Otis Thorpe, Marcelo Nicola and a 1995 1st round pick (Randolph Childress)
Clyde Drexler was fed up with the situation in the Blazers that season, as the team was struggling to stay inside the playoff spots. Already 32 years old at that time, Drexler asked to be traded to a contender. The Rockets sent an expiring contract, that of Otis Thorpe, along with some minor assets to land Drexler, and the team went on to win the title that season. The Blazers might have saved a ton of caps space, but failed to make an impact in the West.
1. Baron Davis to the Cavaliers (2011)
Cavaliers got: Baron Davis and a 2011 1st round pick (Kyrie Irving)
Clippers got: Mo Williams and Jamario Moon
It’s not like the Clippers were not happy with Baron Davis at that point, but it was only a salary dump for them. The Cavaliers did good to demand a first-round pick, but neither team would expect that the pick would be turned into the Kyrie Irving we know today. What if the Clippers hadn’t done that trade, they would have probably drafted Kyrie Irving, possibly altering the franchise’s trajectory forever.