NBA / Aug 18, 2010 / 2:00 pm

5 Worst NBA Trades of All-Time

It’s funny how people start pitching trade ideas and forget that both teams would actually need a reason to pull off said trade.

For example, with everybody trying to figure out the best trade for Carmelo Anthony, some of the ideas are just terrible: ‘Melo straight-up for Andrei Kirilenko (why would Denver do that?), ‘Melo for Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum (why would L.A. do that for a one-year ‘Melo rental?), etc. With some of the crazy offers being considered, I began to think about some of the all-time worst trades in NBA history:

5. Date: January 22, 1999
-Bulls Get: Roy Rogers and a 2000 2nd-round draft pick (Jake Voskuhl)
-Rockets Get: Scottie Pippen

Honestly, it didn’t really amount to anything for either squad. The Bulls were in the process of breaking up the six-ring dynasty, and the Rockets got Scottie just as he started to hit the down slope of his career (and only kept him for one lockout-shortened season). Still, you don’t trade a Hall of Famer/Top 50 player of all-time for basically nothing.

4. Date: February 1, 2008
-Grizzlies Get: Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, a 2008 1st-round draft pick (Donte Greene) and a 2010 1st round draft pick (Greivis Vasquez)
-Lakers Get: Pau Gasol, 2010 2nd-round draft pick (Devin Ebanks).

This trade helped boost L.A. back into championship front-runners; they have been to the NBA Final every year since Pau has joined the team. But it doesn’t look completely terrible now that Pau’s little brother is panning out pretty well for the Grizz, so unlike the other trades on this list, Memphis didn’t exactly get nothing in return.

3. Date: January 15, 1965
-Warriors Get: Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer and cash.
-76ers Get: Wilt Chamberlain

Whenever you trade a player who averaged 38.9 points and 23.5 rebounds per game the previous season, then you have to make this list.

2. Date: June 16, 1975
-Bucks Get: Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters
-Lakers Get: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley

Don’t even look at the names, just look at the numbers. The Bucks got four players who combined scored 32,744 career points, while trading just one player who totaled 38,387 career points.

1. Date: September 9, 1980
-Warriors Get: Two 1980 1st-round draft picks (Rickey Brown and Joe Barry Carroll)
-Celtics Get: Robert Parish and a 1980 1st-round draft pick (Kevin McHale)

This is like something out of a video game. The Celtics should have got fined for armed robbery. How do you steal two NBA legends for nothing?

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  • http://www.LakersNation.com Lakers Nation

    2 out of 5 . . i’ll take it!

  • fallinup

    C’mon now. What about the Lakers/Hornets trade. Kobe for Vlade.

    Or the Bucks/Mavs deal. Dirk for Tractor Trailor and Pat Garrity.

    And don’t forget, Bulls got Scottie from Seattle for Olden Polynice.

  • http://www.mootandtempt.com Tempt

    Honorable mention for Kobe on draft day from the Hornets for Vlade Divac.

  • http://www.cheehee.com Jeffco

    I still don’t understand how you put the Gasol trade in the worst trades of all time and then say its looking like it wasnt such a bad deal for Memphis.
    The rest of the trades have had the players included retired already.
    Either way, you can change the title of the article to Best NBA trades – at least from the other team’s perspective.

  • s.bucketz

    roy rogers was the shit…not the player…the roast beef sandwich spot…is that one still there outside the garden??

  • http://www.wix.com/reyrey33/REYZ-WORLD rey jefferson

    @Jeffco lol Lakers got one of the best sidekicks of all-time n memphis got a guy who may not ever even make an all-star squad

    @Tempt yea honorable mention wit kobe because he may have even saved the franchise n maybe we would have the new orleans bobcats n not the charlotte bobcats


    Shaq for Odom, Butler, Grant!

    Shaq for Wade and spare parts!

  • karizmatic

    I don’t think the Memphis trade should be on here anymore…Marc Gasol is starting to look good, and Greivis Vasquez might pan out as a great player.

    On another note it’s funny how the Lakers got on this list twice. How do they keep bamboozling teams?

    Last, the Melo to LA for Odom and Bynum isn’t thaaat bad for LA, because they are one of the few teams that could probably get Melo to re sign for multiple years, the real question is why would the Lakers break up a team that has been to the finals 3 years in a row and has 2 rings.

  • Heckler

    what about the Philly 76ers trading Charles Barkley to Phoenix for Jeff Hornacek and Andrew Lang?
    Charles Barkley was league MVP the very NEXT season and was in the finals!

    and hows about sign-and-trades where teams only receive back cap relief trade exceptions?!!?

  • oaxiac

    Gasol deal should be worst. Collusion galore.

  • jryu

    “But it doesn’t look completely terrible now that Pau’s little brother is panning out pretty well for the Grizz, so unlike the other trades on this list, Memphis didn’t exactly get nothing in return.”

    “@Jeffco lol Lakers got one of the best sidekicks of all-time n memphis got a guy who may not ever even make an all-star squad”

    your arguments are kinda all over the place. first you say it’s a list of 5 worst trades “of all time,” then say it’s not that bad of a trade, then you argue that it is bad in response to a commenter..

    i like fallinup’s list. dirk for tractor traylor is ridiculous in hindsight.

    altho this one won’t make all time: randy foye for brandon roy is shaping up to be pretty one sided too but we’ll hold judgement til roy progresses more in his career and starts some winning playoff series.

  • control

    Vince Carter for Zo…Zo then turned around and Toronto had to PAY him 10 million to leave (Raps management are pussies, they should have told Zo to fuck himself and let him rot on the bench choking on his 10 mil). So, Vince Carter and 10 million for two guys with the last name Williams I think (and Toronto already had a few guys with last name Williams, they were saving money on jerseys).

  • Chris

    umm… Canada is still reeling from the VC for Alonso (bought out), Eric and Aaron Williams (who???), and a draft pick that turned out to be Joey Graham (are you kidding me?). worst trade ever.

  • Detroit Dave

    How about when the Pistons traded away some Orlando Woolridge and Terry Mills jerseys and a case of Gatorade to Atlanta for Rasheed Wallace? thats gotta be TOP 5

  • Mr. TKO

    I never saw what the big deal was with the Memphis and LA trade.

    Pau was a pretty good player, good enough to get them to the playoffs as an 8th seed but not good enough to stop them from getting stomped every year.

    If you’re a small market town, after a while you can’t afford to pay Superstar money to someone that isn’t bringing in SUperstar results.

    That’s just business sense. They were never going to be good enough to be a threat the way they were set up, plus they were too good to get a good lottery pick but too bad(and small) to attract a free agent.

    So they got rid of Pau Gasol, got a lot of cap space, got a talented player in return and sucked just long enough to get lucky in the draft.

    Now look at Memphis, they’re on the comeup with a lot of young talent.

    It seems like a pretty good deal for both teams. Lakers win now, Memphis gets time and opportunity to build a winning team in the long run.

  • Stokely

    Do you guys research anything? That Pippen trade was a favor to him so he could get more money. They would have been happy letting him walk, they just wanted capspace.

  • Joe’s Momma

    Who the heck is Roy Rogers???

    I know a Carlos Rogers who played for Houston. And I know Rodney Rogers. But who the heck is Roy Rogers? Did he even suit up? Or was he a scrub who never played.

  • Danny

    At least Dime has writers that write in chat speak…

    What’s up “wit” that? “n” this article sucks.

  • Joe’s Momma

    @ oaxiac

    If the Pau deal can be considered collusion, then so can the Garnett deal to Boston. McHale and Ainge, former teammates in Boston.

    The only connection Memphis had with LA was Jerry West, who wasn’t even involved in the discussions, I don’t even think he was still employed by Memphis. He called up the Lakers and said “Hey, this guy is available”

    Which is pretty much what everyone said to everyone else the entire year and a half they tried to trade Pau.

  • http://www.wix.com/reyrey33/REYZ-WORLD rey jefferson

    @Danny Yuuuuupppppp (trey voice) =D glad you like the article Dan

  • LakeShow84

    No mention KG being traded for 8 no names??

    Oh my bad Al Jefferson is turning into a monster :/

  • Richie Rich

    Dominique Wilkins for Danny Manning!

  • Celts Fan

    @Lakeshow – KG, AT 31 YEARS OLD, was traded for $15M in cap space, some picks, and a guy who’s better than the best guy in the Gasol deal WHEN GASOL WAS TRADED WHEN HE WAS STILL ONLY 26! There’s a HUGE difference.

    anyone still complaining about the KG deal hasn’t watched him play the last 2 years.

  • LakeShow84

    No but ive watched Boston win a chip while Minnesota still flirted with the lottery.. oh and they also made ANOTHER Finals appearance.. and as a Celtic fan whatchu sayin KG didnt help you guys get there??

    Dammmnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn lol aye hes old but the leadership, tenacity and attention to defense make up for the old legs he hops around with.. and he looked good in this years postseason so he aint THAT old..

    Im sorry im supposed to believe KG wasnt traded for JACKSHIT??

    Come on now lol Al Jefferson?? did he even get Minnesota to the playoffs??? didnt think so lol u’d think the 8 players they got in that trade would amount to a 8th seed but aye.. thats me :)

  • LakeShow84

    Put it like this the main piece that was given to Minnesota in that deal was dealt 3 years later..

    Memphis aint even INTERESTED in trading Gasol..

  • scottie aka dayoungsta

    How can u not include The human highlight film for Danny Manning im sure every Hawks fan that day cried when they saw theyd traded there superstar to tha Clippers for Manning who later bolted to Phoenix and became a solid role player.

    Roy Rogers was a Rookie in 96 for the Grizzlies played at Alabama in a front line that included Mcdyess and Jason Caffey.He played very sparingly in the Rookie game in Cleveland in 97.


  • Joe’s Momma

    Hey, what about Lebron James for 2 1st rounders??? That is pretty damn lopsided

    And the Kareem trade was a trade demand. He said to send him to LA or NY. Thats why the Bucks got jobbed.

    And wasn’t the McHale trade looked on more favorably at the time? Boston traded the #1 overall pick for the #3 pick (McHale) and an “over the hill” Parish. Granted, years later everyone figured out Boston made out like bandits, but at the time it looked pretty reasonable.

  • Coney Islander

    LOL@ #1 but in all seriousness…The FBI should have looked into that Pau Gasol FIASCO! Can you say INSIDER TRADING…literally! lol

  • Joe’s Momma

    I am not hating on the Garnett deal, I am more pissed that McHale didn’t move Garnett to LA. LA offered Odom and Kwame Brown and picks, but he said no. He wanted Bynum too.

    He settled for Al Jefferson and a 1/2 the Boston team. Then Minny moved Jefferson for absolutley nothing, wtf?

    My gosh, I forgot how poorly run Minny was, at least they are consistent. Kahn has taken that torch to a new low.

  • vince

    “Whenever you trade a player who averaged 38.9 points and 23.5 rebounds per game the previous season, then you have to make this list.”

    And that wasnt the only time Wilt was traded for crap. Just more proof he’s not the GOAT. Can you imagine Russell getting traded for crap? Never.

  • Joe’s Momma

    The Pau deal was a legit deal!

    Sure LA got the best out of it, but what Memphis was looking for was exactly what they got.

    1) Cap Space/Saving via expiring Kwame contract
    2) Draft picks, 2 1st rounders
    3) Young players, Rights to Marc Gasol, and the Rookie guard J-Critt

    If Chicago would have stepped up and made Gordon or Deng available, Pau would be a Bull right now. But Chicago only wanted to move the whack players. Why the heck would Memphis want Duhon when Chicago didn’t even want him.

  • Joe’s Momma

    Greg Popovich was one of the first to hate on the Gasol deal, then goes out the next offseason and get Richard Jefferson for a Kurt Thomas, Bowen who retired, and Oberto who was bought out.

    Now just because the Spurs didn’t win, that trade gets a pass? That is equally as bad as the Pau deal, but no one says Milwaukee got robbed.

  • WinDelRoj

    Heres a couple

    Pippen for Olden Polynice
    Kobe for Vlade
    Barkley for Lang, Perry, Hornacek
    Nowitzki for Tractor Traylor and Pat Garrity (Mavs trade Garrity for Steve Nash)

  • WinDelRoj

    Another one while searching… Cliff Hagan and Macauley for Bill Russell

  • DZ

    1. Date: September 9, 1980
    -Warriors Get: Two 1980 1st-round draft picks (Rickey Brown and Joe Barry Carroll)
    -Celtics Get: Robert Parish and a 1980 1st-round draft pick (Kevin McHale).

    that is really the worst scenario i have ever seen

  • sh!tfaced

    Dennis Johnson for Rick Robey.

  • sh!tfaced

    And every damn trade the Knicks made under Isiah

  • chise


    “Nowitzki for Tractor Traylor and Pat Garrity (Mavs trade Garrity for Steve Nash)”

    Straight up.

  • calling all toasters

    Kidd for Starbury.
    Moses Malone for Caldwell Jones. OK, Moses was in a lot of lopsided trades…

  • http://nbainstl.blogspot.com StrengthSTL

    Worst trade of all time is easily Bill Russell from the St. Louis Hawks to the Boston Celtics for Ed McCauley. Its the trade that shaped the NBA as we know it today. Had St Louis not traded him away…the celtics wouldn’t have 17 championships, and the Lakers might not be at 16 today with the Hawks being in the western conference at the time. The Hawks still might be in St. Louis as well. Easily the worst trade.

  • Showtime

    How about Rodman for Will Purdue or whatever the tall white bum’s name was

  • le

    lol this list is ridiculous, do you have interns who are 18 years old writing this shit?

    chicago did scottie a favor by trading him to a team where he would get paid and compete. they would have been happy to let him walk, all they wanted was capspace

    i havent went through the comments but damn are you guys really going to put pau gasol on this list? memphis was put in a hard position where they had an injured superstar who wanted out and everyone knew it. they made this trade for capspace and picks and shit marc gasol is a VERY GOOD CENTER, top ten in this league definately.

    kareem and wilt both wanted out in their cases.

    to me you got to put people on this list where a team was making a trade thinking they were going to get an equally or much more valuable player.

    off the top of my head

    brandon roy for randy foye. foye is on his third team, while roy is a franchise player

    kobe for vlade divac. im sure people have commented on this already.

    scottie pippen for olden polynice

    dirk for tractor traylor

    caron butler for kwame brown

    ariza for brian cook

    shawn kemp for vin baker. wait that was equally bad lol

    darren collison for trevor ariza will be up there. ariza is the most over rated player last year, by now everyone knows where he stands

  • Ekstor

    I can more easily forgive Parish and McHale trade b/c at the time, no one knew both would be HoF… and Joe Barry Carrol was later nicknamed to “Joe Barely Cares” b/c he had superstar talent but a whatever attitude. In hindsight, the trade is horrible, but at the time, it’s easier to justify.

  • kman

    This is a weak article, sorry. The #1 trade is a great choice, but the others (as you even say on some of them) weren’t that bad after all. This obviously wasn’t very well thought out ahead of time. How about Olden Polynice for Pippen? Kobe/Divac? Kobe has only won 5 titles since. If you did some more digging you would have changed at least 3 of these.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    The Pau Gasol trade does not belong on this list. Crittenton was ok, Marc Gasol is a very good player, and Greivis Vazquez will surprise a lot of people. Pau wanted to leave.

    Great trade? No.

    3rd worst of all time? Come on now

  • Kudabeen

    People forget the Kobe trade wasn’t a big deal. Guards out of High School was and still is a big question mark. Kobe was a cocky/talented son of a former pro, but it was Joe Bryant, not Jordan…He wasn’t a number 1 pick and also benefited from the success Garnett had. Since Kobe what guards out of High School to the pros really panned out (in the short time frame until the eligibility changes)?

    Kobe is an anomaly, which like many you don’t know what they are until they show and prove.

    Also, I would have to really think about bad trades, because the Vince from Toronto to NJ was worst than Memphis sending Pau to LA…People just don’t like that the rich got richer, but Memphis unloaded a big contract and a player that wasn’t into anymore. They got back expendable pieces and actually did a decent job at building up their franchise from that point forward. They made good progress and saved themselves money. Why would they do a so many favors in the league that don’t make them Playoff factors is a critique on Chris Wallance’s competence, but the Gasol trade wasn’t the top 5 worst ever…

  • http://na Romeo Deiparine

    How about the Lakers getting Magic? Did they traded someone to get into that priceless position? I think that’s a hell of a trade. Agree?

  • thomas

    MAN there are some JEALOUS folks on these boards tonight, all bashing the Gasol trade, hey he was available, for more than 6 months, go back and search the articles of the day, the fact your GM, who ever he is , for your lousy team, didn’t pull the trigger, isn’t the Lakers fault. Remember Gasol wasn’t supposed to be a winner, a first option, a franchise player, so most teams were down on him at the time, only hindsight is 20/20. NOWWWW HE’S A STEAL. No insider anything, just good GM ing.

  • Human

    Boston fans are still crying, one said Garnett was an old man while Gasol was 26. (Oaxiac called it “collusion” The Garnett trade should have been the one investigated by David Stern. That was the trade involving collusion, in the same modus operandi as McHale’s under the table deal with Joe Smith. I am glad to see a writer, Rey Jefferson, who finally puts a name to the draft choices that finally become people. It’s almost worthless to read articles such as this when they only mention the pick, year, and number, after the pick has been made, so kudos to Rey Jefferson. Divac for Kobe…it’s Charlotte that needed a franchise center, a talented passing one at that. Kobe could have been a fade-out. His future career was speculation at the time. If Bynum continues with his streak of injuries, the Lakers should revisit Memphis with an offer of Bynum for a package including Marc Gasol, but I feel that they will turn it down as Marc is a top center in the league and still has room to grow. Pau is naturally talented, but the Kobe factor expanded his game and will continue to.