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The Biggest Blockbuster Deals In NBA History

Once the James Harden trade is made official, where will it rank in the annals of NBA blockbuster deals? Of course, that's difficult to answer until history shows us how each team involved in this transaction fares once the dealing is done.

It's a four-team trade, which alone makes it spectacular from the point of view of volume. Harden goes from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets. Guard Victor Oladipo shifts from the Indiana Pacers to Houston. Caris LeVert departs Brooklyn for Indiana. The Cleveland Cavaliers receive Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets. At least four draft picks and additional pick swaps are also part of the transaction.

While it might be too early to assess this trade in terms of ranking it among the biggest blockbusters, it certainly figures to shorten the likelihood on Brooklyn's chances of capturing the NBA Finals, considering Harden will be joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with the Nets.

What we can ascertain for sure is which deals in NBA history were the most fantastic to drop in past years. Let's take a look back at the biggest blockbuster trades that have gone down in the Association.

Robert Parish from the Golden State Warriors to the Boston Celtics

Shortly after the conclusion of the 1979-80 season, the Celtics knew that they were onto something good. They just needed to make it a bit better.

Boston went 61-21 that season, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. In Larry Bird, they had the NBA's rookie of the year. On June 9, 1980, Boston traded its two first-round picks in the 1980 draft - No. 1 and No. 13 - to the Warriors. In exchange, Golden State sent the No. 3 pick of the 1980 NBA draft to Boston along with fourth-year center Robert Parish.

The Celtics used that No. 3 overall selection to grab forward Kevin McHale out of Minnesota. McHale and Parish joined Bird to give Boston its Big Three who would hold forth throughout the 1980's. Boston won the NBA Title in 1980-81. The Celtics would reach four more NBA Finals in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987.


"Robert Parish, Larry Bird, Mayor Raymond L. Flynn" by Boston City Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0

LeBron James from the Cavaliers to the Miami Heat

When King James abdicated his throne in Cleveland and opted to take his talents to South Beach, it wasn't a free agent move as most thought it to be. It was a sign and trade package.

Cleveland got two first round and two second round draft picks for James. Miami got four straight trips to the NBA Finals and a pair of titles. Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Los Angeles Lakers

When you get a chance to acquire the game's most prolific scorer, you don't pass that up. The Lakers were good enough to get to the NBA Finals. They figured with Wilt The Stilt in their starting five, they'd get over the hump.

The Lakers went to the NBA Finals in four of the first five seasons with Chamberlain at center. However, they only captured one title, beating the New York Knicks in 1971-72.

Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Lakers

Acquiring Davis last season to work in tandem with LeBron, the Lakers won their first NBA title in a decade.

The thing is, this dynamic duo might just be getting started. There's no telling how many titles they could win together.


"Anthony Davis" is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Shaquille O'Neal from the Lakers to the Heat

This was the blockbuster that helped both teams. Teaming with Dwyane Wade, Shaq helped Miami win the 2006 NBA title. Heading the other way in the deal were Caron Butler, Lamar Odom and Brian Grant. Odom was a key cog in Lakers teams that reached three straight NBA Finals from 2008-10, winning two titles.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from Milwaukee Bucks to the Lakers

After Chamberlain left LA, the Lakers stopped being a force to be reckoned with. That all changed in 1975 when the Lakers acquired Abdul-Jabbar from the Bucks. Kareem went to LA in exchange for Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters.

With Kareem working the sky hook under the hoop, the Lakers won five NBA titles.