The Sixers have been on the losing end of quite a few trades, both in recent and distant history. They’ve also pulled off some bargains and successful blockbusters, too.
We ranked the top 10 in Sixers history:
10. Toni Kukoč, Nazr Mohammed, Theo Ratliff and Pepe Sánchez to the Atlanta Hawks for Roshown McLeod and Dikembe Mutombo
Ratliff was the NBA’s leader in blocks per game for the 2000-01 season and made the only All-Star Game of his career. But when he hurt his wrist, the Sixers decided to swap centers and picked up Mutombo. The Hall of Famer won his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award and was vital in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks, averaging 16.6 points, 15.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks.
9. Johnny "Red" Kerr to the Baltimore Bullets for Wali Jones
The Sixers got a bit of good fortune in this deal. After averaging 11 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Bullets in the 1965-66 season, Kerr was selected by the Bulls in the expansion draft. Instead of playing, however, he retired and took over as the team’s first head coach. Meanwhile, Jones spent seven seasons in Philadelphia and started at point guard for the 1966-67 NBA champions.
8. Fred Carter to the Milwaukee Bucks for a 1977 second-round pick (Wilson Washington) and a 1978 second-round pick (Maurice Cheeks)
A Philadelphia native who later coached the Sixers, Carter was near the end of a playing career that had peaked with him scoring over 20 points per game. He only played 47 games for Milwaukee before retiring, while Cheeks played 853 games in Philadelphia and became a Hall of Fame floor general. GM Pat Williams also deserves credit for later turning Washington into three draft picks and spending one of those on 1979 second-round selection Clint Richardson, a key bench piece on the 1983 championship team.
7. $125,000 the New Jersey Nets for the rights to the 51st pick (Kyle Korver)
The Nets had to use the $125,000 for summer league expenses and a new copy machine after a second consecutive NBA Finals appearance, according to Zach Lowe. Korver has the fourth-most made three-pointers in NBA history, is 10th in three-point percentage and has earned about $77 million in his career.
6. George McGinnis and a 1978 first-round pick (Mike Evans) to the Denver Nuggets for Bobby Jones, Ralph Simpson and a 1984 first-round pick (Leon Wood)
The Sixers’ timing on this trade was nearly perfect. While McGinnis was an All-Star the year after leaving Philadelphia, his production soon dropped off and he was done with professional basketball by 1982. Jones spent the majority of his Hall of Fame career with the Sixers and won the NBA’s inaugural Sixth Man of the Year award in 1983.
5. Luka Mitrović, Artūras Gudaitis and a 2017 first-round pick (De’Aaron Fox) to the Sacramento Kings for Carl Landry, Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, the right to swap picks in 2016 and 2017 and a 2019 first-round pick (Later traded — Celtics took Romeo Langford)
We have this deal among our top 10 not because of the final results, but as an appreciation for the value Sam Hinkie often extracted. In this trade, the Sixers essentially moved up from No. 5 and No. 3 in the 2017 draft and took the No. 14 pick in the 2019 draft. In exchange, they gave up Mitrović and Gudaitis, neither of whom has played in the NBA. Though the fruits of the deal were ultimately squandered when Bryan Colangelo traded up to take Markelle Fultz, that’s an impressive haul.
4. World B. Free to the San Diego Clippers for a 1984 first-round pick (Charles Barkley)
The Sixers had to patiently wait for this trade to pay off after making it in 1978. Free, now an always-jovial and charming team ambassador, was a heck of a scorer. He posted over 30 points per game in the 1979-80 season and averaged nearly 25 over an eight-season stretch. Still, parting with Free was obviously a price worth paying for the chance to draft Barkley, one of the best players in Sixers history.
3. Mel Bennett to the Indiana Pacers for a 1980 first-round pick (Andrew Toney)
Much like the trade above, the Sixers were generously rewarded for playing the long game. They traded Bennett in 1976, then watched from afar as he posted a modest 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest in 129 career NBA games. The eighth pick in 1980, Toney was a two-time All-Star, an NBA champion in 1983 and, of course, “The Boston Strangler.”
2. Caldwell Jones and a 1983 first-round pick (Rodney McCray) to the Houston Rockets for Moses Malone
To upgrade a team that had won 58 games and lost to the Lakers in the Finals for the second time in three years, Williams landed the reigning MVP. While Jones stuck around until he was 39 years old and McCray played 10 professional seasons, Malone’s services should have been much more expensive, in hindsight. He won another MVP award in 1983 as his new team came just one game short of fulfilling his famous “Fo’, Fo’, Fo’” prediction.
1. Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer and cash to the San Francisco Warriors for Wilt Chamberlain
Shaffer retired shortly after the trade, while Dierking and Neumann both had some solid NBA years left. Neither player, however, was in Chamberlain’s stratosphere. Chamberlain averaged 27.6 points, 23.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists in three-plus seasons as a Sixer, winning the championship in 1967. He probably shouldn’t have been dealt for anything less than multiple All-Stars — or perhaps an All-Star and a heap of first-round picks — but the Warriors were struggling financially and gave up a player who’d led the league in scoring for five consecutive seasons.
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