NBA Dynasties are just those teams nobody can ever forget about, and even if young ballers don’t know which players actually played throughout that span, the banners hanging high in the rafters do most of the talking.
Winning an NBA Championship is the ultimate goal for all franchises and every single move they do is because they believe that’s the next step towards that direction, either for the present or the long-term future.
Nonetheless, winning an NBA Championship isn’t enough to be considered a dynasty, and over the course of NBA history we’ve seen some incredibly stacked teams that looked primed for contention from day one, but constantly fell short of the NBA ring. Today, we’re going to talk about the 10 NBA Dynasties that never were.
10. Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard
Amid the 2012-13 campaign, it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers were primed for Championship contention after managing to snub Dwight Howard away from the Orlando Magic to pair him with Kobe, Nash and Gasol as one of the most well round up squads in the entire Association.
Nonetheless, Dwight’s lack of character developed a lot of bad blood between him and Bryant, and with Nash constantly sidelined with injuries, Howard pretty much bailed out on them by earning a silly ejection in the 1st round of the playoffs against Houston, a team that eventually swept them just to sign Howard the very same year, leaving the Lakers empty-handed after a one year rental.
9. Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah
Not so long ago, we all thought of the Chicago Bulls as Championship contenders amid Derrick Rose’s return from injury, but things just didn’t click with Tom Thibodeau leaning towards handling the rock to Noah to create the offense and Butler to lead the way in scoring.
There was some bad blood between Rose and Butler and this wind up with Noah and Derrick being traded to the New York Knicks, where both of their careers would pretty much come to an end, while Butler only managed to stay put at Chicago for one more season.
8. Houston Rockets: Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler
Hakeem Olajuwon already knew what it was like to lead the Houston Rockets to the NBA title following Jordan’s retirement, and the team was extremely aggressive in their pursuit for stars to go back to the highest level landing Barkley and Drexler.
This monster team was supposed to dominate but they lost twice against the Utah Jazz in the NBA Playoffs. After that, Drexler decide to retire, Olajuwon and Barkley were too old to play on the highest level and that was the end of Rockets Super Team.
7. Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa, Shawn Marion
The Phoenix Suns seemed like the most Championship bound team during the regular season but were constantly taken down in the Conference finals despite having the 2 time MVP Steve Nash leading the way for them.
Marion was one of the best defensive wings in the league at that time, while Barbosa was by far the fastest guard in the world during his prime, and Amar’e was just unstoppable down low in both ends of the floor. Still, they constantly choked when it mattered the most, and Phoenix was pretty much left empty-handed afterward.
6. Seattle Supersonics: Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf
Truth to be told, the only team that could compare with the mighty Bulls (at least, record-wise) was the Seattle Supersonics, owning a 357-135 record over a 6 season span while Chicago owned a demolishing 362-130 record of their own.
However, they were yet another victim of Jordan’s prime and after Kemp struggled to keep his life together due to substance abuse and the franchise pretty much turned his back on him and George Karl’s firing, this team was stuck in mediocrity for a very long time.
5. Orlando Magic: Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Horace Grant
Orlando made a trip to the NBA Finals but fell short of the Chip and a frustrated Shaquille O’Neal decided to opt out and choose the way out to play for the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant.
The Orlando Magic had landed the most dominant center in the league in a young Shaquille O'Neal that simply outgrew the franchise, and according to Horace Grant, ego was the biggest reason why the Penny-O’Neal duo didn’t work out in the first place.
4. Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Karl Malone
A couple of years later, the Lakers were primed for Championship contention and decided to lure Gary Payton and Karl Malone, a couple of veterans chasing an NBA title to create the infamous Fab Four scam for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nonetheless, off-court issues between Kobe and Malone, as well as the already shook relationship between Kobe and Shaq ended up with disaster. Detroit Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 and that was the end of the Lakers Super Team with Karl Malone and Gary Payton.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, James Harden
The Oklahoma City Thunder had finally shaken away those mediocre campaigns of the last years of the Supersonics franchise by landing 4 outstanding prospects via draft in Westbrook, Ibaka, Durant and Harden, that led the team to the NBA Finals in 2012 against the Miami Heat.
Sadly, that finals run ended with LeBron James winning the Chip in 5 games and Sam Presti eventually sending James Harden to the Houston Rockets, and it’s pretty harsh to think how unstoppable this team would be had they’d stayed together for a couple seasons, with 2 of them winning MVPs already.
2. Utah Jazz: John Stockton, Karl Malone, Jeff Hornacek
The Utah Jazz were the team to beat in the Western Conference in the mid-nineties and they seemed to have the upper hand in every aspect of the game, having the best point guard in the league at the time and one of the most dominant scorers in Karl Malone as well.
Hornacek was at his prime and was a deadly scoring option with his great pace and shooting stroke, but despite making a couple of trips to the Finals, the Jazz were Michael Jordan’s favorite victims, falling short of the title against His Royal Airness and those mightily demolishing Chicago Bulls.
1. Sacramento Kings: Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic
The Kings were by far one of the most exciting teams to watch during the early 2000s and they always looked primed for Championship contention, showing great ball movement and defense featuring a very well round up the squad with several talented ballers but not a single superstar.
Not even Chris Webber' leadership, Mike Bibby' points and Stojakovic’s stroke from beyond the arc were enough to beat the Los Angeles Lakers, who even knocked them out of the Western Conference Finals in Game 7 of 2002 despite the Kings’ 35-6 regular season home record.