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The Worst 10 Trades in NBA History

  • Jason Whitney

History has shown us that in some trades, one of the two parties can be greatly benefited while the other party will be a big loser. We’ve seen several such deals in the history of the NBA. Let’s break down which are the Worst 10 trades in the history of the league.

No.1: Charlotte Hornets trade Kobe Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers

Some trades are meant to change the entire history of a franchise. The Hornets received Vlade Divac, who was a solid starter at that time. But Kobe turned out to be the next big thing in the NBA. A definite loss for Charlotte.

No.2: Milwaukee Bucks trade Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Yet another time the Los Angeles Lakers were the big winners of a trade. This time it was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who came to LA to change the course of the franchise. The Lakers gave away Dave Meyers, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and Elmore Smith but they never were able to meet the expectations in Milwaukee.

No.3: Seattle trades Scottie Pippen

The Chicago Bulls received Scottie Pippen from the Seattle Supersonics and Michael Jordan’s dynasty instantly took its final shape. Olden Polynice was received by Seattle but he never even got close to the level Pippen reached.

No.4: Philadelphia 76ers trade Wilt Chamberlain

If it’s not yet clear why the Los Angeles Lakers are such a legendary franchise, then now it all starts to make sense. The 76ers got Darrall Imhoff, Jerry Chambers and Archie Clark when they sent away Chamberlain. Wilt reached the sky in LA, becoming one of the top 5 players to ever play the game.

No.5: Portland Trail Blazers trade Moses Malone

The Blazers traded away Moses Malone to the Buffalo Braves for Rick Robey. Malone went on to win three MVP trophies in his successful 19-year career in the league.

No.6: Houston Rockets trade Elvin Hayes

The Rockets traded away Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes for Jack Marin. Although Marin delivered solid performances for Houston, Hayes went on to lead the Bullets to an NBA title. This was an obvious loss for Houston.

No.7: Cleveland Cavaliers trade James Worthy

The Cleveland Cavaliers were a struggling team during the 80’s. They then decided to trade their first-round pick and Butch Lee to Los Angeles, in exchange for Dan Ford and Chad Kinch. That pick turned out to be James Worthy.

No.8: Warriors trade Robert Parish

When a franchise has instinct and plans its course, it can only be successful. That’s what happened with the Boston Celtics, who traded away Joe Barry Carroll to the Warriors in exchange for Robert Parish and a first-rounded, who turned out to be Kevin McHale.

No.9: Philadelphia 76ers trade Charles Barkley

Barkley wanted out of Philadelphia. But the 76ers had to get something much better than Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Archie Clark out of this deal. Philadelphia was an obvious loser in that deal.

No.10: Milwaukee Bucks trade Dirk Nowitzki

No wonder why the Bucks are still, well, the Bucks. Milwaukee traded away its No.9 pick of the 1998 draft, Dirk Nowitzki to Dallas for Robert Traylor. An obvious case of a bad trade for the Bucks.

Ron is the lead editor of For more of his basketball insights, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues at Google+.


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Jason Whitney

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