We always hear about the NBA trade deals that go through. The swapping of players has the potential to seriously alter the status quo. But how often do we hear about the deals that don't go through? While it may seem unimportant at first, it can get crazy to know just how close the NBA was to a huge seismic shift.
One such deal, made by Portland in the mid-90s, would have seen the formation of a partnership between the three most dominant players ever: Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Clyde Drexler.
Via Living the Dream:
In his autobiography, Living the Dream, Olajuwon mentions an intriguing draft trade offered to the Rockets that would have sent Clyde Drexler and the number two pick in the 1984 NBA draft from Portland in exchange for Ralph Sampson. Had the Rockets made the deal, Olajuwon states the Rockets could have selected Michael Jordan with the number two pick to play alongside Olajuwon and Drexler, who had established chemistry playing together during their Phi Slama Jama days in college. Sportswriter Sam Smith speculates that such a trade "would have changed league history and maybe the entire Michael Jordan legend". From 1991 to 1998, every NBA championship team included either Jordan or Olajuwon; furthermore, at least one of Drexler, Jordan, and Olajuwon was involved in every NBA Finals from 1990 to 1998.
Obviously a trio of Jordan, Drexler, and Hakeem would have made waves in the NBA. But had they gotten (and stayed) together, the implications would have been of league-changing proportions. Hakeem averaged 22.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game for the Rockets while Drexler averaged 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.7 assists during his prime.
They would have used the draft pick on Jordan, and we all know what he accomplished.
The three would have dominated for at least a decade, maybe longer. The three would have probably won at least six Championships (probably more) and the Houston Rockets would have been immortalized forever. And while these types of things will always be stuck in our imagination, it's a plain fact that this trade would have been drastically altered the course of NBA history.
If only Houston had the chance for a do-over.