Trading is something that can either go extremely well or madly wrong, and general managers can often be found in the hot seat after making some questionable decisions that seemed right at the time but wound up being major mistakes.
There’s always something going on in the National Basketball Association and guys are going to get traded and cut, either at the beginning or throughout the campaign, with franchises always trying to get better for the present season or for their long-term future.
Some bold moves have paid off, of course, but over the course of the last decade, there have been some major flaws regarding trades, and today we’re bound to let you know about the top 10 worst trades of the decade.
10. Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks (2013)
Raptors Acquired: Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, 2016 1st round pick, 2 2nd round picks (2014 & 2017)
New York Knicks Acquired: Andrea Bargnani
The New York Knicks really jeopardized a major part of their future handing out 3 Draft picks in order to land the former 1st overall pick, Andrea Bargnani; who was supposed to form a big three alongside Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
Bargnani was a major fluke at the Big Apple and he’s not even playing anymore despite being just 32 years old. The Italian was always a horrible defender, a streaky shooter (At best) and a mediocre defender, posting averages of 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds as a Knick.
9. Isaiah Thomas to the Phoenix Suns (2014)
Phoenix Suns Acquired: Isaiah Thomas
Sacramento Kings Acquired: Trade Exception, Draft rights to Alex Oriakhi (57th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft)
Isaiah Thomas was always overlooked and underestimated and the Sacramento Kings have to be really regretting to have let go one of the top tier scorers in the Association, especially considering how much they’ve struggled to find a starting point guard.
With this sign and trade deal, Thomas arrived in the desert to be a part of that three-headed monster of Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and him that eventually made Dragic take his talents to South Beach. Still, Thomas made a huge leap at Phoenix and is considered an elite scorer just a couple of years afterward while Oriakhi hasn’t even played a single game in the Association.
8. Gerald Wallace to the Brooklyn Nets (2012)
Brooklyn Nets Acquire: Gerald Wallace
Portland Trail Blazers Acquire: Shawne Williams, Mehmet Okur, top-three-protected 2012 1st round pick (Damian Lillard)
The Brooklyn Nets made a huge mistake when they decided to part ways with their 1st round pick of the 2012 Draft, as their general manager stated that they would only like to draft Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Anthony Davis, sending that selection with some spare parts to RIP City for Gerald Wallace.
Of course, they didn’t miss Williams or Okur a single bit, but the Blazers eventually used that pick to draft Damian Lillard. While Lillard has become a top-tier scorer and clutch God with averages of 22.6 points and 6.2 dimes, the Brooklyn Nets don’t even have a true point guard on the roster anymore with Jeremy Lin sidelined.
7. Blockbuster Trade Between the Celtics and the Nets (2013)
Boston Celtics Acquire: Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Gerald Wallace and three unprotected first-round picks (2014, 2016, 2018), first-round swap rights (2017)
Brooklyn Nets Acquire: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, D.J. White
The Brooklyn Nets make our list once again as they did what could be considered to be one of the worst trades in the history of the game, giving away their entire future just to have a shot at the last run of aging veterans like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, an experiment that never actually paid off.
Brooklyn is still paying for that huge mistake, with the Boston Celtics recently drafting standout prospect Jayson Tatum, while the Nets couldn’t even make the most of the horrible season they had the past year, earning the 1st overall pick but not being able to hold on to it because of this move.
6. Kevin Love to the Minnesota Timberwolves (2008)
Minnesota Timberwolves Acquire: Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins
Memphis Grizzlies Acquire: OJ Mayo, Marko Jarić, Antoine Walker y Greg Buckner
The Memphis Grizzlies have always struggled to be a relevant franchise in the Association and most of that has to do with how poorly they’ve fared during the Draft night, and that Kevin Love trade is a perfect example of that trend.
Could you just imagine a frontcourt featuring prime Zach Randolph and the young, dynamic Kevin Love? Moreover, a Love - Gasol one-two punch could’ve been unbeatable. Now, Love is an NBA Champion with career averages of 18.4 points and 11.5 boards, while OJ Mayo isn’t even in the league anymore.
5. DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans (2017)
New Orleans Pelicans Acquire: DeMarcus Cousins
Sacramento Kings Acquire: Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, 2017 2nd round pick
DeMarcus Cousins had been in the market for a very long time and his relationship with the team’s front office was broken beyond repair, so it was the smartest thing to let him go while he still had more than a year in his contract and his value may be at an all-time high.
Nonetheless, the Kings being the Kings, they got several spare parts (with two guys that aren’t even on the team anymore) in exchange of Boogie. Of course, Buddy Hield’s upside is there, but he has mightily struggled to find some consistency and has even lost his starting job, while Cousins has been even better than Anthony Davis for the Pelicans so far.
4. Kyrie Irving to the Cleveland Cavaliers (2011)
Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Baron Davis, unprotected 2011 1st round pick (Kyrie Irving)
Los Angeles Clippers receive: Mo Williams, Jamario Moon
This kind of deals is exactly why the Los Angeles Clippers have always been the league’s laughingstock, parting ways with a Draft pick that wound up being the 1st overall, used to Draft no other than Uncle Drew himself, the one and only Kyrie Irving.
In a desperate move to get rid of Baron Davis’ contract, the Clippers lost the chance to have a Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin core for the future. Kyrie was an unproven prospect out of Duke, but he instantly took the league for assault, and he’s now one of the league’s elite scorers and ball handlers, posting career averages of 21.5 points and 5.5 dimes per game.
3. Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers (2008)
Los Angeles Lakers Acquire: Pau Gasol, 2nd round pick (2010)
Memphis Grizzlies Acquire: Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie (Draft rights to Marc Gasol and 1st round picks in 2008 and 2010.
As we mentioned before, the Memphis Grizzlies have made some very questionable choices throughout the year, and one of them was handing Pau to the Los Angeles Lakers to pretty much lock down their Championship odds.
As a matter of fact, this trade was so stupid for the Grizzlies that Gregg Popovich stated that there should be a committee that reviewed this moves that were “beyond comprehension and absurd”. Eventually, Pau went on to win back to back NBA Championships with the Lakers, while all they could really got out of him was the Draft rights to his younger brother.
2. Kawhi Leonard to the San Antonio Spurs (2011)
San Antonio Spurs Acquire: Kawhi Leonard, David Bertans, Draft rights to Erazem Lorbek and the 42nd overall pick
Indiana Pacers Acquire: George Hill
According to Gregg Popovich himself, this one was one of the boldest moves he’s ever made, as not even thought Kawhi Leonard could become as good as he is right now, considered the best two way player in the league and a perennial MVP candidate.
Leonard has improved on a yearly basis and is already a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Champion and Finals MVP, while George Hill’s tenure at Indianapolis wasn’t quite successful to say the least, posting averages of 12.3 points and 3.9 dimes per game.
1. James Harden to the Houston Rockets (2012)
Houston Rockets Acquire: James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward
Oklahoma City Thunder Acquire: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick
And of course, the craziest trade of them all has to be the one Sam Presti did when he parted ways with James Harden to keep Serge Ibaka alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, putting defense ahead of the offense and thinking of Harden more o a 6th man rather than an actual franchise player.
Now, Harden is one of the best players in the world and he’s coming off the best season of his career, becoming a deadly scorer and one of the best playmakers in the league, leading the Houston Rockets with his impressive averages of 31.7 points, 5.1 boards and 9.5 dimes per game with 1.7 steals on 45% from the floor, 40% from 3 and 86% from the line.