Biggest NBA trade deadline deals since 2000
Biggest NBA trade deadline deals since 2000
Every year, fans in contending cities hope their teams add star players at the trade deadline. More often than not, they’re disappointed.
For all the pre-deadline chatter, the reason trades like Sunday’s between the Pelicans and Kings are notable when they go down is because players of DeMarcus Cousins’ magnitude don’t necessarily get moved at every deadline. Rather, fans hoping for a player like that are left waiting for the offseason.
Perhaps with something of a Celtics bias, here are the biggest trade deadline deals since 2000:
76ers trade for Mutombo (2001)
Dikembe Mutombo had been named to seven of the past eight All-Star games at the time that the first-place 76ers traded Pepe Sanchez, Toni Kukoc, Nazr Mohammed and Theo Ratliff to Atlanta in a deal for him.
Mutombo was 34 at the time of the trade, but he was still a star and one whom the 76ers believed would have been able to hang against Shaquille O’Neill in a potential NBA Finals meeting.
The 76ers and Lakers did indeed end up reaching the Finals, with Los Angeles eliminating Philly in five games.
Bulls send Artest to the Pacers (2002)
Ron Artest has always been something of an interesting fellow. Yet he wasn't a star until he went to the Pacers in a deal that sent Travis Best, Norm Richardson, Jalen Rose, and a second-round pick to Chicago. The Pacers also got Brad Miller, Ron Mercer and Kevin Ollie in that deal.
Also, here's where that Celtics bias comes in. If Artest never plays for the Pacers, maybe he never he pulls down Paul Pierce's shorts during a game. If that never happens, maybe Pierce's career plays out differently and the Celtics never win in 2008. Butterfly effect.
Ray Allen for Gary Payton (2003)
Bona-fide-star-for-bona-fide-star trades don’t happen often, but the Sonics’ uncertainty with Payton being in the last year of his contract led to the 2003 swap.
The full deal: Allen, Kevin Ollie, Ronald Murray and a conditional first-round pick to Seattle; Payton and Desmond Mason to Milwaukee.
While the trade was significant, neither team’s push for a title proved to be that season. The Sonics finished four games out of a playoff spot, while the Bucks were the No. 7 seed in the East and were eliminated by New Jersey in the first round.
Rasheed Wallace to the Pistons (2004)
As we learned this week with the DeMarcus Cousins trade, character concerns sure can lower the price of a star player.
In a three-team deal, the Pistons traded Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura and a conditional first-round pick to Atlanta and Lindsey Hunter, Chucky Atkins and a first-round pick to the Celtics. Detroit also Mike James in the deal.
While many pieces were moved out of Detroit in the deal, the quality of them didn’t match the talent they got back in Wallace. Adding Wallace to a roster that already included Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince led the team to beat the Lakers in five games in the NBA Finals.
Celtics reacquire Antoine Walker (2005)
During Danny Ainge’s years of asset-compiling, he saw an opportunity to try to sneak in a playoff round or two while not giving up too much.
He took it when, during Doc Rivers’ first season as head coach, he traded a first-round pick, Gary Payton and Tom Gugliotta and Michael Stewart to Atlanta to bring Walker back to Boston. Payton would come back to Boston after being bought out by the Hawks in the aftermath of the trade.
The Celtics won the weak Atlantic Division and got into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed. The fun didn’t last, as they were eliminated in the first round by the Pacers. That offseason, Walker was then sent to the Heat in a sign-and-trade.
Lakers get Pau Gasol (2008)
This may have looked like a fleecing on the part of the Lakers, and at the time, perhaps it was. The Lakers immediately put themselves right back alongside the Celtics as one of the more star-studded NBA rosters while not taking much of an immediate hit with what they sent to Memphis.
Yet while Gasol would help the Lakers win two NBA titles, the package netted by Memphis -- Marc Gasol, Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie and first-round picks in 2008 and 2010 -- helped shape the next several years of the Grizzlies franchise.
Marc Gasol has been a three-time All-Star for the Grizzlies, while Memphis GM Chris Wallace said this season that numerous moves the Grizzlies have since made are in some way connected to that 2008 deal.
Carmelo Anthony to Knicks (2011)
The Knicks may be hoping it can happen again, but it looks like 2011 will remain the only time that Anthony was traded at the deadline.
This was a huge deal, both in terms of size (three teams, 13 players) and pure significance, as Anthony was still just 26 at the time. New York sent Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, a future first-round pick and two future seconds, the right to exchange 2016 first-round picks and cash considerations to Denver and sent Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and cash considerations to Minnesota.
The Knicks made the playoffs in their first three seasons with Anthony, but just once advanced past the first round and has not reached a Conference finals. They have missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Celtics trade Kendrick Perkins (2011)
Kendrick Perkins has never been a superstar, but Boston fans will always consider him the one who got away.
After starting for the title-winning 2007-08 team and seeing his knee injury play a major factor in the C’s not winning again in 2010, Perkins entered the 2010-11 season both with injury concerns and contract uncertainty.
Perkins returned from his knee injury in January of that season, but he was dealt along with Nate Robinson to the Thunder a month later, with the C’s getting Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic back in return. With the C’s weakened at center, they lost in the second round to the Heat.
Clippers use pick to dump Davis, lose out on Kyrie (2011)
This one wasn’t a big trade at the time, but sometimes you give someone a first-round pick to take a player off your hands and that pick ends up winning the lottery with a 2.8 percent chance.
That’s what happened when the Clippers’ move to dump Baron Davis on the Cavaliers ended up becoming the first overall pick, with which Cleveland added Kyrie Irving.
Isaiah Thomas to Celtics (2015)
What’s the going rate for an All-Star who sits second in the league in points per game? Probably something like a late first-round pick and a journeyman guard? Whoops, Suns.
Nobody thought the Celtics were getting a star when they traded for Thomas, and the Suns certainly didn’t think they were giving one away. Yet like aforementioned Baron Davis trade, many significant trades don’t necessarily look all that significant at the time.
DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans (2017)
Great players don’t get traded at the deadline too often. When they do, they should probably go for a lot more than what the Kings got for Cousins. Here’s hoping for their sake that Buddy Hield ends up being a star.