Players can control their destiny when they decided where to sign and play over the upcoming years, but more often than not, they don’t have a say on whether such team trades them to lesser squads.
GMs are constantly trying to move some pieces in order to get the most value out of their veterans, either to tank and rebuild for the future, to clear cap space for major signings or just to avoid them walking away for free.
Naturally, players tend to pay the price after the trades go down, and more we’ve seen hundreds of examples of players that were quite good before being dealt away. Today, we’re going to talk about 10 trades that pretty much-ruined players careers.
10. Joakim Noah
9 Seasons In Chicago: 9.3 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.4 BPG
2 Seasons In New York: 4.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.7 BPG
Joakim Noah was one of the league’s top-tier defensive-minded big men in the league during his years as the Chicago Bulls anchor down low, showing vast playmaking abilities and even a sweet scoring touch despite his unorthodox shooting form.
But, after he signed with the New York Knicks, Noah just wasn’t able to shake off constant injuries, was slow and heavy footed on defense and was even unable to connect from the charity stripe, up to the point where he completely fell off the team’s rotation and even got suspended for PED use.
9. Ben Gordon
5 Seasons In Chicago: 18.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.0 APG
3 Seasons In Detroit: 12.4 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.4 APG
Ben Gordon was one of the league’s elite scoring shooting guards off the bench, and was one of the Chicago Bulls go-to-guy since entering the league in 2004, making it to the All-Rookie 1st team and even winning the 6th Man of the Year accolade.
But, after 3 straight seasons averaging over 18 points with the Bulls, the shooting guard’s career took a major downfall in Detroit, never logging over 26 minutes a night and looking slow and washed out in both ends of the hardwood.
8. Luol Deng
10 Seasons In Chicago: 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.0 SPG
40 Games In Cleveland: 14.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.0 SPG
Luol Deng was one of the league’s best wing scorers at both forward spots during his Chicago Bulls tenure, but after putting averages of 19 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists over the first third of the season, the team decided to send their 2 times All-Star to the Cavs in return for Andrew Bynum and future draft picks.
This trade created a lot of controversy as Joakim Noah, Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose were extremely heated, while Deng’s career would take a major downfall during his brief stint at Cleveland, also playing for the Miami Heat and signing a multi-year deal with the Lakers just to pile up DNPs.
7. Michael Carter-Williams
2 Seasons In Philadelphia: 16.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.7 SPG
2 Seasons In Milwaukee: 12.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.7 SPG
Michael Carter-Williams was a fair Rookie of the Year winner after his very impressive first season with the Philadelphia 76ers, he was looking like a stud in the making due to his defensive expertise, athleticism and length, but constant injuries and lack of mid and long range game made the team part ways with him.
MCW would never be able to constantly shake off his nagging pains, and he lost pretty much all rhythm and scoring a touch, as well as most of his lateral quickness on the defensive end of the floor, wandering around with the Bucks, Bulls and Hornets.
6. Monta Ellis
7 Seasons In Bay Area: 19.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.7 SPG
2 Seasons In Milwaukee: 18.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.9 SPG
Monta Ellis demanded a trade out of the Golden State Warriors because he thought he was way better than Stephen Curry and wasn’t happy about sharing touches with the team’s promising rookie, being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks as one of the league’s top-notch scorers.
While Ellis game became obsolete pretty quick and he would have to embrace a lesser role with the Indiana Pacers a couple of years later, Curry would go on to become a 2 time MVP and NBA Champion, not to mention the fact that Ellis isn’t even a part of a team’s roster anymore.
5. Josh Smith
9 Seasons In Atlanta: 15.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.1 BPG
2 Seasons In Detroit: 15.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.5 BPG
Josh Smith was deadly in the post, a dominant and physical scorer at both forward spots that could outhustle all opposition due to his upper body strength and bully attitude during his Atlanta Hawks years, but his stubbornness to become a three-point shooter made him constantly brick shot after shot and stopped him from taking a step forward in his career.
Smith would try his luck with the Pistons but was unable to carry the load and lead them the distance, until he was finally waived by the team despite still owing him a huge amount of money. He would later join the Rockets but was never able to be a starter or consistent scorer anymore.
4. Lamar Odom
7 Seasons on Lakers: 13.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.7 APG
1 Season In Dallas: 6.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.7 APG
Lamar Odom was one of the most gifted forwards in the league during his prime. His versatility allowed him to play and guard both forward spots and even play as a stretch five for the Clippers and Lakers, helping LAL win a couple of Championships en route to a 6th Man of the Year award.
Nonetheless, the talented forward’s decline started when he was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks to provide some instant offense off the bench, struggling on and off the court to keep his life together.
3. Deron Williams
6 Seasons In Utah: 17.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 9.1 APG, 1.1 SPG
5 Seasons In Brooklyn: 16.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.1 SPG
Deron Williams was once considered to be one of the world’s best point guards due to his aggressiveness and offensive versatility and his ability to constantly make winning plays and set his teammates up, mostly during his Utah Jazz tenure.
But, ever since landing at Brooklyn, the injury-prone point guard got stuck on a mediocrity spiral, was constantly forced to miss games due to several nagging pains. While the Nets were never able to be actual contenders in the East, Williams would go on to have failed stints at Dallas and Cleveland.
2. Isaiah Thomas
3 Seasons In Boston: 24.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.0 SPG
15 Games In Cleveland: 14.7 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 4.5 APG, 0.6 SPG
Isaiah Thomas was used to overcoming adversity all through his career, being the last pick of the Draft and then just passed around the league from Sacramento to Phoenix to Boston, where it looked like he was finally ready to establish himself as one of the league’s top-tier scorers.
But after suffering a season-ending back injury and finding out that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland, Danny Ainge gave him up to their rivals. Sadly for IT, he would become the Cavs’ scapegoat and deal to the Los Angeles Lakers, and he looked out of shape and rhythm all season long, up to the point where he’s going to find it really tough to find a lucrative deal next season.
1. Dwight Howard
8 Seasons In Orlando: 18.4 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 2.2 BPG
1 Seasons On Lakers: 17.1 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 2.4 BPG
Dwight Howard was once considered to be something of the likes of the second coming of Shaquille O’Neal, and even though he was never able to live up to the hype, he was one of the most solid two-way big men in the league, especially during his Orlando Magic tenure when he led the team to the Finals.
The Lakers traded for Dwight in order to pair Kobe once again with a dominant a physically big man, but that experiment blatantly failed after just one season, with Howard also failing at Houston and Atlanta, up to the point where he was dealt on a salary dump deal to the mediocre Charlotte Hornets.