Paul Pierce famously slipped to 10th in the 1998 NBA Draft before a career that will earn him induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend.
With the ninth pick that same year, the Milwaukee Bucks selected future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki and ultimately flipped him to the Dallas Mavericks.
Both Pierce and Nowitzki enjoyed lengthy careers that will take them both to Springfield, but each won only a single NBA championship. Could they have won more if they'd joined forces at some point?
In an article by Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated ahead of Pierce's induction ceremony, the former Celtics captain revealed that after the 2006-07 nadir of his career in Boston -- the team finished 24-58, the second-worst record in the league -- he ran into Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in Las Vegas and told him, "I’m your missing piece."
Through his agent, Pierce attempted to orchestrate a trade to Dallas, he told Mannix.
"I'm in my prime, and I’m watching all these other guys in the playoffs," Pierce said. "It was depressing. I thought I was out of there. I thought it was over."
Instead, Danny Ainge brought help to Pierce in the form of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, leading the Celtics to a 42-game improvement from the previous season and an NBA title. Pierce was named Finals MVP after Boston took out the Los Angeles Lakers in six games for the lone championship of his 19-year career.
Dallas struck out on Pierce, but would finally surround Nowitzki with the right pieces for a championship in 2011. Cuban claimed Tuesday that he nearly had a deal for Pierce at some point after Boston's 2008 title.
Pierce will be inducted alongside a class including Chris Bosh, Ben Wallace and Chris Webber, as well as fellow Celtics legend Bill Russell -- for his coaching career.