The NBA truly is where amazing happens. More often than not, a shocking move takes everybody by surprise and the history of basketball as we know it can change in the blink of an eye.
Year after year, teams and players make incredibly bold moves no fan in the world would’ve even dreamed of at the end of the year, with this one not being the exception to that rule.
So, enough of vague statements and let’s get to it, talking about the most surprising move by year since 2010 until now.
2010: LeBron James Chooses Miami
When LeBron James put together a whole act to announce his “decision”, he drew a lot of hate from all over the world as Cavaliers’ fans felt as if he was just bailing out on them and the whole city.
Either way, him “taking his talents to South Beach” would’ve eventually paid off big time for the King, as he went on to make it to 4 NBA Finals and win a couple of Championships next to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
2011: The Knicks Get Carmelo Anthony
Back in 2011, Carmelo Anthony was one of the league’s deadliest scorers, yet his Denver Nuggets were mightily struggling to get by and couldn’t catch a break in the playoffs, so he wanted out.
The Knicks and Nuggets put together a huge blockbuster deal to get Melo to the Big Apple, sending Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler with several spare parts on a deal that featured 8 players and 3 Draft picks. Eventually, the Knicks would’ve used Anthony as their scapegoat and the rest, as you know by now, is history.
2012: The Lakers Get Dwight Howard
With Dwight Howard growing sick and tired of not being able to deliver a Championship to the city of Orlando, the big man pretty much asked to be traded away to join the very same team that had beat him in the Finals: the Los Angeles Lakers.
There, he would join Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol and put together an intimidating superteam, but injuries and poor chemistry wound up handing them a 1st round playoff exit and Howard left the team as a free agent.
2013: Josh Smith Chooses Detroit
The 2013 free agent class wasn’t the deepest but back then, Josh Smith was actually a dominant scorer in the post and a great rebounder, so he had plenty of choices on his table before eventually signing with the Detroit Pistons.
What made this move even more bizarre was the fact that the team ended up paying him the rest of his contract just to get rid of him as soon as possible, as he was reluctant to keep on bricking contested three after contested three.
2014: Nets And Celtics Make Huge Trade
Danny Ainge proved he was a mastermind when he completely ripped off the Brooklyn Nets, trading away borderline washed out veterans for a handful of picks he turned into James Young, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum.
The Celtics got Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, four first-round draft picks, while the Nets got Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, D.J. White, Jason Terry as a part of their win-now plan. Needless to say, it didn’t pay out for them.
2015: Suns Trade Away Isaiah Thomas And Goran Dragic
The Phoenix Suns were slowly putting together quite a decent team, featuring a three-headed monster consisting of Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic, and Eric Bledsoe. While the three-guard lineup was entertaining as hell, the defense was a major concern.
Even so, nobody expected the Suns to trade not one, but two of their stars almost simultaneously, just to also part ways with Bledsoe a couple of years later. As of today, they’re still lacking a starting point guard.
2016: Kevin Durant Chooses Golden State
Nobody expected Kevin Durant to completely bail out on Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, let alone leave the team to join the very same squad that had beat him following a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs.
Durant drew (and is still getting) a lot of hate all over the world for this move and the way he (mis)handled the whole situation. Even so, he won back-to-back Championships and NBA Finals MVP, so he’s not regretting it at all.
2017: The Celtics Get Kyrie Irving And The Thunder Get Paul George
Following a heart-breaking loss in the NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving decided it was time for him to move on and become ‘the man’, so he asked the Cavaliers to trade him. Surprisingly, they sent him to their biggest rivals in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics.
On the other hand, everybody was expecting the Los Angeles Lakers to make a move for Paul George, but they decided to play the waiting game and he eventually joined the Thunder, just to sign an extension with them in the offseason and leave the Lakers empty-handed.
2018: Warriors Sign DeMarcus Cousins And Raptors Get Kawhi Leonard
Everybody was hoping the New Orleans Pelicans resigned DeMarcus Cousins, as he had thrived next to Anthony Davis for half a season. Still, he signed a shocking 5.5 million deal with the defending Champions in order to finally make his postseason debut.
Even so, the most surprising move had to be the blockbuster deal that got DeMar DeRozan shipped to San Antonio and Kawhi Leonard up north. The Raptors are one of the frontrunners to make it to the Finals, so let’s see how this plays out.