The NBA Draft can be a hit or miss affair for teams in the NBA. You can either select the NBA’s next star or you can select a rookie who will end up having an unsuccessful career in the NBA. Here’s a list of the Top 10 NBA players who never played for the NBA franchise they were drafted by.
(The following list is in order)
Kevin Love – Drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies
Traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Rajon Rondo – Drafted by the Phoenix Suns
Traded to the Boston Celtics
10. Marc Gasol
The 7’1” Spaniard was selected with the 48th overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Marc was then traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for his older brother Pau Gasol. This was the first time in NBA history that two brothers were traded for each other.
Marc has went on to have a good career in Memphis averaging 14.9 ppg and 7.6 rpg so far in his NBA career. Gasol also was voted the 2012-2013 Defensive Player of the year as well as being named to two different All-NBA teams during his playing career.
Marc would have been a great fit in L.A if he hadn’t been traded away but unfortunately, at the time it was a win-now situation for the Lakers.
9. LaMarcus Aldridge
Considered one of the top power forwards in the NBA for the past few years, Aldridge never actually played for the team he was drafted by.
Aldridge was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the second overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. LaMarcus was then traded to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for the 4th overall pick in the Draft – Tyrus Thomas. Aldridge went on to spend nine seasons in Portland and is now currently playing with the San Antonio Spurs.
Aldridge has been selected as a NBA All-Star 5 times in his career and has averages of 19.1 ppg and 8.3 rpg. This was definitely a huge mistake on the Chicago Bulls part.
8. Chris Webber
Webber was selected first overall in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic before being immediately traded to the Golden State Warriors. The Magic received Penny Hardaway and three first-round picks in exchange for the power forward’s services.
Webber went on to have a successful career in the NBA winning the 1994 NBA Rookie of the year award and being selected as an All-Star 5 times in his career. Chris also made his way onto five All-NBA teams during his career.
Webber never returned to play for Orlando during his career and ended his playing career after 17 seasons in the NBA.
7. Dominique Wilkins
Wilkins was selected with the third overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Wilkins did not want to play for the Jazz so he was traded to the Hawks a few months after the Draft.
Dominique went on to have a successful career in the NBA, being selected as an All-Star nine times in his career, winning two Slam Dunk contest awards and also being crowned the 1986 NBA scoring Champion.
For such a good player you just wonder how his career could have turned out if he had stayed and played for the Utah Jazz.
6. Pau Gasol
Pau was selected with the 3rd pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks traded Pau’s rights to the Memphis Grizzlies in return for Shareef Abdur-Rahim. This turned out to be a big mistake as Pau went on to win the 2002 Rookie of the Year Award.
Gasol has since become a two-time NBA Champion and been voted to 4 All-NBA teams. He also still provides useful minutes in the NBA as he currently plays with the San Antonio Spurs.
5. Ray Allen
Considered the best shooter to ever play the game of basketball by some, Allen never played for the Minnesota Timberwolves even though he was drafted fifth overall by the franchise in the 1996 NBA Draft.
The Timberwolves traded Allen in exchange for Stephon Marbury. This turned out to be a huge mistake for Minnesota as Ray went on to be a Star in the NBA finishing his career with a total of 2973 three-point field goals made and with two NBA Championships under his belt.
4. Dirk Nowitzki
Considered the ‘Best European Player of All-Time’, Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t actually drafted by the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk was drafted ninth overall in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was then traded to the Bucks with Pat Garrity in return for Robert Taylor.
This turned out to be a huge mistake for the Milwaukee Bucks as Nowitzki has went on to have an amazing career in the NBA winning an NBA Championship with Dallas in 2011. Dirk also has 13 All-Star selections to his name and he was also voted to 12 All-NBA teams during his playing career.
The good news? Dirk still isn’t done playing in the NBA and we expect to see him make a return to the court next year with the Dallas Mavericks.
3. Scottie Pippen
Michael Jordan’s main sidekick during the years where the Chicago Bulls were the most feared team in the NBA – Scottie Pippen was selected fifth overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Seattle Sonics. Pippen was then traded to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for a center – Olden Polynice and a second-round Draft pick.
Pippen went on to play 11 straight seasons with the Bulls before returning in the 2003-2004 season to finish his NBA career with a final 23 games in a Bulls jersey.
Scottie was a 7-time All-Star and 6 time NBA Champion who is now a Hall of Famer. Just imagine what could have been for Pippen if he wasn’t traded to the Bulls back in 1987. The NBA could have been a whole lot different than it is now.
2. Bill Russell
Believe it or not, the 11 time NBA Champion never played for the team he was drafted by. Russell was selected 2nd overall in the 1956 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks (Now known as the Atlanta Hawks). The Head Coach of the Boston Celtics at the time – Red Auerbach, traded away both Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley in exchange for the young Bill Russell.
This turned out to be the right decision on the Celtics part as Russell led the team to 11 NBA Championships during his 13-year playing career. The Legendary ‘Number 6’ was a 12 time NBA All-Star and also won 5 NBA Mvp awards! Regarded as one of the best to ever play in the NBA, just imagine what could have happened if Russell hadn’t been traded to Boston.
1. Kobe Bryant
Selected 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, ‘The Black Mamba’ wasn’t actually selected by the L.A Lakers. Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets but ended up being traded to Los Angeles in July 1996 in exchange for Vlade Divac.
Kobe finished his career with great achievements: 18-time All-Star, the 2007-2008 MVP and also had 5 NBA Championships under his belt when he decided to call it a day.
The question is how would Kobe’s career have panned out if he had not been traded by the Hornets back in 1996?