The 5 worst trades in Sixers history

The 5 worst trades in Sixers history

Traditionally, when you trade a star player in any sport, it’s hard to recoup star value in return.

Looking back on a few of the worst swaps for the Sixers, it’s hard to argue with that sentiment.

While a few modern deals have been bad — trading up to select Markelle Fultz, trading Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor for pennies on the dollar — those deals didn’t hurt the team’s current era as much as these impacted the franchise’s trajectory in the past.

Here are the five worst trades in Sixers history.

5. Chet Walker to the Bulls

Walker played one year as a Syracuse National before that franchise became the Sixers. He was a three-time All-Star and NBA champion in 1966-67 in Philadelphia. He was part of arguably one of the best starting fives ever that featured Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Billy Cunningham and Hal Greer. 

Walker wound up having a Hall of Fame career himself but had his best statistical seasons in Chicago. After the Sixers traded him along with Shaler Halimon for Bob Kauffman and Jim Washington in 1969, Walker made four more All-Star teams. He averaged 20.6 points in 474 games with the Bulls.

Kauffman never played a game for the Sixers and was traded again for Bailey Howell. Howell played just one season for the Sixers, the final of his Hall of Fame career. Washington played 174 games for the Sixers, averaging 12.9 points and 9.4 rebounds a game.

4. Andrew Bynum to the Sixers

You likely don’t need too much of a refresher on this one. The Sixers acquired a 25-year-old All-Star center in Bynum, who, despite a knee injury, was just entering his prime. The price for that center in 2012? Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and two first-round picks. The Sixers also acquired Jason Richardson for salary purposes.

The fact that Bynum didn’t play a game for the Sixers after such a bizarre saga that included a bowling injury puts the trade up here. Richardson was at the tail end of his career but was a solid mentor during the early stages of the Process. 

Iguodala went on to become a three-time NBA champ and win a Finals MVP with the Warriors. Vucevic became an All-Star big for the Magic. Harkless has become a solid NBA role player. Luckily for the Sixers, Sam Hinkie was able to swindle those first-rounders back from the Magic in 2014.

3. Charles Barkley to the Suns

We also likely don’t have to jog your memory too much on this one. Barkley, who was drafted fifth overall in 1984, joined a Sixers team loaded with Hall of Famers Julius Erving, Moses Malone and Maurice Cheeks. As those players all moved on, it became Barkley’s team. He was a six-time All-Star who’d become disgruntled by the organization’s lack of success.

In 1992, Barkley was traded to Phoenix for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry. In his first season with the Suns, Barkley was the NBA’s MVP and took his team to the Finals, where they lost to the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. Barkley went on to make five more All-Star teams before retiring in 2000.

Hornacek was solid but lasted just 132 games with the Sixers before being traded to the Jazz. Lang lasted just 72 games. Perry was here the longest of the three (211 games) but never made much of a mark. This trade ushered in a bad era of Sixers basketball. After making the playoffs with Barkley in 1990-91, they wouldn’t get back until 1998-99.

2. Wilt Chamberlain to the Lakers

The Sixers were only a season removed from winning a championship in 1967 and were coming off a 62-win season in 1967-68. As previously mentioned, they boasted one of the better starting units in NBA history. 

Trading a star player is one thing. Trading one of the greatest players ever is another. There are several different indications for why, but Chamberlain was dealt to the Lakers in 1968 for Darrall Imhoff, Jerry Chambers and Archie Clark. 

Chamberlain went on to help L.A win a title in 1972, its first since 1950. He also made four more All-Star teams and retired as a Laker in 1973. Imhoff (161 games) and Chambers (zero games) didn’t make an impact here. Clark had a strong run, averaging 18.2 points a game in parts of four seasons here, but never made the impact of Chamberlain.

1. Moses Malone to the Bullets

Of all the trades on this list, this one may be the hardest to explain. Malone had been the missing piece in helping Dr. J get over the hump in 1982-83. His numbers as a Sixer were outstanding (23.9 points, 13.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks per game) and it was the best era of Sixers basketball during his four seasons here.

But in 1986, the Sixers traded the 30-year-old Malone along with Terry Catledge and two first-round picks to the Bullets for Cliff Robinson and Jeff Ruland. The move was not received well by the players — especially by a young Barkley — and Malone made three more All-Star appearances. 

Robinson was a pretty good player here, but not an All-Star. Ruland, who already had foot issues during the previous two seasons in Washington, played just five games with the Sixers before retiring. He made a brief comeback during the 1991-92 season but played just 13 games. This began what Sixers fans call "The Curse of Moses Malone."

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Kobe Bryant's 7 best NBA moments in Philly

Kobe Bryant's 7 best NBA moments in Philly

We are paying tribute to a legend. 

NBC Sports Philadelphia will re-broadcast three of Kobe Bryant's landmark games Monday night — the 2008 Olympic gold medal game at 6 p.m., followed by Bryant's final game in Philadelphia at 8 p.m. and the 2012 Olympic gold medal game at 10:30 p.m. 

Bryant honed his Hall of Fame talents at Lower Merion High School and sharpened his skills and competitiveness in the Sonny Hill League and on playgrounds across the Delaware Valley. 

Bryant had his share of highs and lows as a professional in his hometown. 

He played 17 regular-season games in Philadelphia, finishing with a 7-10 record and a 22.8 scoring average. More importantly, he had a perfect 3-0 record in postseason games in Philadelphia, with all three wins coming in the Lakers' 4-1 series victory over the 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals. Bryant averaged 25.7 points in those three games and captured the second of his five career NBA championships. 

Here's a look back at some of Bryant's most memorable moments in Philly. 

First NBA game in Philadelphia — Nov. 26, 1996
Bryant played his first professional game in his hometown as an 18-year old reserve, scoring 12 points in 21 minutes in a 100-88 Lakers win. He shot 4 of 10 from the field, 2 of 5 from three-point range and made both of his free throw attempts.  

Bryant's rookie counterpart Allen Iverson finished with 16 points on 6 of 27 shooting and 10 assists. Former Temple star Eddie Jones and Shaquille O'Neal each had a game-high 23 points for the Lakers. 

Bryant came off the bench in 65 of the 71 games he played as a rookie, averaging 7.6 points in 15.5 minutes per game. 

NBA Finals — June 2001
The Lakers and Sixers arrived in Philadelphia for Games 3, 4, 5 of the 2001 NBA Finals with the series even at one game apiece. The 22-year old Bryant famously proclaimed that he was coming to Philly to "cut their hearts out."

The Lakers went on to win the next three games in Philadelphia to secure their second straight NBA championship. 

Game 3 was the closest of the three games — the Lakers won 96-91 behind Bryant's 32 points. He had 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a 14-point win in Game 4 before closing out the series with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a 12-point win in Game 5. 

2002 All-Star Game MVP — Feb. 10, 2002
Bryant's "cut their hearts out" comment was still fresh in the minds of Sixers fans eight months later when the 2002 All-Star game was played in Philadelphia. Bryant was booed throughout the night, but he fed off the negative energy to score a game-high 31 points and win the first of his four career All-Star Game MVP awards. 

He was subsequently booed during the All-Star MVP presentation and admitted that his feelings were hurt by the frosty reception from his hometown crowd.  

Bryant averaged 25.2 points during that 2001-2002 season and led the Lakers to a third straight NBA championship. 

44-point outburst — Dec. 20, 2002 
Bryant's best game in Philadelphia came 10 months after that 2002 All-Star Game, when he posted 44 points and 10 assists in a 107-104 loss to the Sixers. He shot 16 of 35 from the field, 2 of 5 from three-point range and made all 10 of his free throw attempts. 

Iverson led the Sixers to victory with 32 points, nine steals and five assists. Keith Van Horn had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. 

The 2003 Lakers came up short in their quest for a fourth straight NBA title, losing to the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.

Snapping the streak — Dec. 21, 2007
Bryant and the Lakers got their first regular-season win in Philadelphia in nearly eight years, beating the Sixers 106-101 to snap a six-game losing streak at the formerly named Wachovia Center.

Bryant had 19 points in the win, but Andrew Bynum stole the show with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Andre Miller led the Sixers with 21 points and eight assists. 

The 2007-2008 season marked the first of three straight trips to the NBA Finals for Bryant and the Lakers. They would lose the 2008 Finals to the Celtics before beating the Magic in 2009 and winning a rematch with Boston in 2010. 

Last great performance in Philadelphia — Dec. 16, 2012
This was Bryant's last vintage performance in his hometown. The 34-year old Bryant had 34 points and six assists in a 111-98 win over the Sixers. Nick Young led the Sixers with 30 points, while Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes each scored 16 points. 

Bryant's 2012-2013 campaign ended with a torn Achilles tendon late in the 80th game of the regular season. The Kobe-less Lakers were swept by the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. 

This turned out to be Bryant's last great season. He averaged 27.3 points, 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds to earn First Team All-NBA honors in his 17th NBA season. 

Final game in Philadelphia — Dec. 1, 2015
Bryant's last game in Philadelphia came nearly 14 years after he was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game. That proved to be plenty of time for old wounds to heal. He was showered with applause and tributes in his Philly farewell, and for a while it looked like he would deliver one final great performance in his hometown. 

Bryant opened the game by hitting 3 of his first 4 three-point attempts, whipping the Wells Fargo Center into a frenzy. But at 37 years old, Bryant eventually ran out of gas and finished 7 of 26 from the field in a 103-91 loss to a Sixers team that entered the game with an 0-18 record. 

Bryant scored 20 points and finished his 20th and final NBA season with a 17.6 scoring average.

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Sixers Talk podcast: Will Sixers have a chip on their shoulder if playoffs happen?

NBCSP/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: Will Sixers have a chip on their shoulder if playoffs happen?

On this edition, Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss:

(2:12) — Questioning Joel Embiid's fitness is like beating a dead horse; will the Sixers have a chip on their shoulder?
(13:22) — Charles Barkley calls Moses Malone trade a disaster to his career.
(20:20) — Would the season being cancelled be worse than watching our most hated rival winning the Finals?

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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