Players these days move teams often in order to place themselves in position to succeed. While it was not always the norm for players to change teams in their prime, there has been a ton of player movement throughout NBA history regardless. Even the greatest players of all time have played for multiple teams.
It is time to rank the best player that has played for a minimum of 10 teams up until the best player who only played with one team. It might be shocking to see some names on this list in the number of teams they played for, but there was a very clear winner for the best player who only played for one team.
10 Teams: Jeff Green
Jeff Green has played for a total of 10 NBA franchises over his career. Green started as a versatile power forward but a potentially career-ending injury prevented him from becoming the All-Star player he was capable of becoming. Many remember Jeff Green with his time in Oklahoma City with a young Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Green was able to overcome his injury and become a solid role player who will always have an NBA job.
9 Teams: Moses Malone
The great Moses Malone is one of the best big men to ever play the game. One of the greatest room protectors and rebounders ever, Moses Malone will always be remembered for being a superstar for the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers. Moses was also an All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Bullets. Malone played for 9 teams because injuries hindered his progress early on in his career, but he turned out to be a Hall of Famer in the end.
8 Teams: Vince Carter
The greatest dunker of all time, Vince Carter played for eight NBA teams over his Hall of Fame career. Carter was drafted and put the Toronto Raptors on the map and was later an All-Star for the New Jersey Nets. Those are his best stints as an All-NBA talent, as he would later play side roles alongside teams needing his veteran experience and scoring ability. Vince Carter played into his forties which is why he has played for 8 total teams.
7 Teams: Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard will always be remembered as an Orlando Magic superstar. Howard was so great that he won three straight Defensive Player of the Year Awards and even guided the Orlando Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals. In terms of pure defensive dominance, Dwight Howard is one of the greatest of all time. But his ending to the Orlando Magic stint was a brutal one and he never quite recaptured his superstar form anywhere else. Still, Dwight Howard has played for some all-time great franchises including the Los Angeles Lakers and won an NBA championship with them last year.
6 Teams: Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal is easily a top-five center of all time. The Diesel is the most dominant modern NBA superstar because his size and dominance around the rim was the reason he captured four championships and three Finals MVPs. Shaq started his career with the Orlando Magic before dominating with the Lakers and winning his final championship with the Miami Heat. Shaq has stints with the Suns and Cavaliers before ending his career with the Celtics.
5 Teams: Chris Paul
Arguably a top-five point guard of all time, Chris Paul has played for five NBA franchises and has made them all better each time he was on the roster. Paul is one of the greatest Charlotte Hornets players of all time, might be the greatest Los Angeles Clipper of all time, and was responsible for helping the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns become championship contenders. A stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder also showed Paul's ability as a leader, and he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer when all is said and done.
4 Teams: Allen Iverson
The greatest player that has played for four different teams is The Answer, Allen Iverson. Iverson is the greatest little man to ever play the game, a former MVP, and a four-time scoring champion who changed the game with his style and grace. Allen Iverson will always be the greatest Philadelphia 76ers player ever, even though he had stints with the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, and Memphis Grizzlies before his retirement.
3 Teams: LeBron James
Known as the king of Akron, LeBron James is the greatest player who has played for three NBA franchises. LeBron started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, before bolting to the Miami Heat to win his first two championships. The King later returned to Cleveland to win his third title and captured his fourth with the Los Angeles Lakers last year. No player has been as polarizing as LeBron James throughout history, and the fact that he played for three franchises and won with all of them is truly amazing.
2 Teams: Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan fans hate to admit it, but the GOAT has played for two NBA teams in his career. Jordan is by far the greatest Chicago Bulls player to ever play the game, winning six championships and six finals MVPs while bringing tremendous success to the NBA as an individual. Michael Jordan later finished his career with the Washington Wizards, a stint in which does not fully reflect how dominant Michael Jordan was in his prime.
1 Team: Kobe Bryant
This is the toughest category to rank, but Kobe Bryant is the greatest NBA player who has only played for one team. Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and especially Magic Johnson have a case; but Kobe Bryant was a different animal. He played his entire career with the Lakers, winning 5 NBA championships and leading the franchise in points scored. No player outside of Michael Jordan had Kobe's killer instinct and dominance as a scorer, which is why he will always be the best player that played for one team throughout his career.
Credit for the idea: NBA Debates 1