Top 10 NBA Trades of All-Time
Basketball is a business. Icons from certain teams are sometimes traded when the time is right. Whether they are unhappy or aging or haven’t meshed with the coaching staff, trades are a part of the business that is the NBA. Here are the top 10 trades in NBA history (in no particular order):
Scottie Pippen for Olden Polynice
The six-foot-eight small forward from the University of Central Arkansas was traded after being drafted fifth overall in the 1987 NBA Draft. He was traded from Seattle to the Chicago Bulls for Olden Polynice. Polynice was a quality big man but Pippen would go on to become one of the greatest players ever. Playing the role of “Robin” to Michael Jordan’s “Batman” Pippen was one of the league’s best all-around players. He was a top-notch defender and excellent on the offensive end as he went on to win six NBA titles.
Wilt Chamberlain for three players
Chamberlain may have been the best scoring big man the NBA has ever seen in its history. He once scored 100 points in a game. However, despite being a perennial MVP winner, the Philadelphia 76ers traded Chamberlain to the Lakers where he won an NBA Championship and another MVP award in 1972.
Bill Russell for two players
Russell was as elite as they come as far as big men. The second overall pick of the St. Louis Hawks in 1956 was traded for financial reasons to the Celtics. The Hawks didn’t have the funds to sign the future Hall-of-Fame center. The rest is history as Russell went on to win 11 NBA titles.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for four players
The all-time leading scorer in NBA history spent the first six years of his career in Milwaukee. After six seasons though, the Bucks traded him to Los Angeles where he went on to play 15 more seasons. In those 15 seasons, the man who had the beautiful hook shot won five NBA titles and three NBA MVP awards.
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen for players and draft picks
The Boston Celtics wanted another championship banner and following a disappointing season in 2006-2007, they decided to make a run for it. Danny Ainge traded away the fifth overall pick which turned into Jeff Green for veteran sharpshooter Ray Allen. He then traded young big man Al Jefferson and a few other players and draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for superstar Kevin Garnett. Garnett and Allen teamed up with Paul Pierce to capture an NBA Title in year one.
Dirk Nowitzki for Robert “Tractor” Traylor
In the 1998 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks selected University of Michigan big man Robert Traylor. They immediately traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks for the draft rights to Dirk Nowitzki (9th overall pick) and Pat Garrity. Traylor battled weight problems throughout his short career and passed away in 2011 due to a heart attack. Nowitzki is a surefire Hall-of-Famer. The crafty 7-footer from Germany is an elite shooter and led the Mavericks to an NBA Title. He continues to climb up the NBA’s all-time scoring list as well.
Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins
This trade has a lot of potential. Love is already an elite big man in the NBA and is only 25 years old. He is a 20-plus point scorer, 10-plus rebounder and excellent outside shooting big man. Those types of players don’t come around very often. He will now be playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland and is expected to deliver a title. Wiggins has high expectations coming into the league and some compared him to James not too long ago. Those might be a little too high but the potential for this superb athlete and defender is the sky. He may take a little while to develop his entire game but once he refines his repertoire he could go down as one of the all-time greats.
Dennis Rodman for Will Perdue
Rodman was the “Bad Boy” in the NBA. He played on the Detroit Pistons teams that were known as the “Bad Boys.” After playing for Detroit he went on to the San Antonio Spurs. Known for his wild hair colors and off-the-court attire, Rodman was one of the best rebounders of all-time. He won the NBA rebounding title for seven straight seasons and was a pivotal part of the Chicago Bulls’ three championships in the mid-to-late 90s.
Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish for two players
McHale, Parrish and Larry Bird created one of the top trios of all-time for the Boston Celtics. The Golden State Warriors traded Parrish and the draft rights to McHale for two picks in 1980. The two formed with Bird to win three NBA titles in the 80s and the Warriors? Not much success at all.
Shaquille O’Neal for three players
O’Neal is one of the greatest big men of all-time and an absolute physical specimen. He bullied other big men around the hoop and was as physically dominant as they come in the league. After winning three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, there was tension among him and budding superstar Kobe Bryant. As a result, O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004 for three players including Lamar Odom and a draft pick. He continued to dominate the league and in 2006, the Heat won the NBA Championship.