In honor of star Kevin Love being shipped from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Cleveland Cavaliers over the weekend, here's a look at 10 major NBA trades that changed the course of franchises, for better or worse.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsMatthew Emmons
10. Dirk Nowitzki to Dallas for Robert "Tractor" Traylor (1998)
Nowitzki was actually drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, but was viewed as little more than a 7-footer from Germany who liked to shoot jumpers. Traylor was viewed as a hustling big body with soft hands. Sixteen years, 12 straight playoff appearances and one title later, the Mavericks looked to have done OK for themselves. The Bucks? Well, it's not often pretty.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
9. Dennis Rodman to Chicago for Will Perdue (1995)
Rodman spent a miserable season-and-a-half with the San Antonio Spurs in the mid-1990s. He was miserable, Spurs star David Robinson was miserable, the balance of the basketball universe was miserable. But the Chicago Bulls possessed gravity-defying star Michael Jordan, character-cleansing coach Phil Jackson, and a strong willingness to move Perdue. The Spurs wanted Rodman out so badly, they made the move. Then the Bulls won the final three of their six titles.
8. Kobe Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac (1996)
Divac was one of the league's most underrated centers during his run alongside Magic Johnson in LA. So why give up Divac to the Charlotte Hornets for some kid who entered the draft straight out of high school? At the time, it seemed rather preposterous. Then again, Johnson had retired and Divac had hit his ceiling. Bryant didn't hit his until about two years ago. How the Lakers knew this was the right move was anyone's guess. But the right move (and then some) it was.
NBAE/Getty ImagesJuan Ocampo
7. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston for random parts (2007)
Before Love, Garnett was the face of the Timberwolves. Allen was in his prime with the Seattle SuperSonics (soon-to-be Oklahoma City Thunder) and the Celtics had a thirst to become something more than Paul Pierce and a bunch of rag-tags who couldn't win. So they kept Pierce, shipped off about half the team for Garnett, and moved some pieces for Allen. The championship return was immediate.
NBAE/Getty ImagesJesse D. Garrabrant
6. Scottie Pippen to Chicago for Olden Polynice (1987)
Michael Jordan needed someone to be the Robin to his Batman, the Tonto to his Lone Ranger, the ... well, you get the idea. Polynice was a serviceable center. Pippen was all arms and legs and energy with a big upside. So the Bulls swapped picks with the Sonics to land Pippen on draft night. People called them crazy. People were terribly wrong.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
5. Shaquille O'Neal to Miami for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant (2004)
Shaq won three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, then got real sick of Kobe Bryant. The feeling seemed mutual, too. O'Neal wanted to move on and so did the Lakers. The Heat wanted to make some sort of splash next to guard Dwyane Wade. Shaq was always some sort of splash, and the Heat won the title in 2006. Of course, Bryant and the Lakers won it 2009 and 2010. When there's enough titles for everyone, then everyone is precisely who wins.
4. Robert Parish and Kevin McHale to Boston for Joe Barry Carroll and Rickey Brown (1980)
The deal went like this: Parish and the No. 3 draft pick to the Boston Celtics for the Nos. 1 and 13 picks. The Warriors used those picks to select Carroll and Brown, the Celtics went with McHale. Parish and McHale landed next to Larry Bird to form perhaps the greatest frontcourt trio in NBA history. Meanwhile, Carroll sometimes played hard. The Celtics won three championships during the Parish-McHale-Bird era. The Warriors won gloom. So everybody came out a winner.
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3. Wilt Chamberlain to the LA Lakers for Jerry Chambers, Darrall Imhoff and Archie Clark (1967)
You may have heard of Clark (maybe) but almost definitely not the other two if you're younger than, oh, 43 years old. But everyone has heard of Chamberlain. Why the Philadelphia 76ers decided to do this remains a mystery nearly 50 years later. Four years after the trade, the Big Dipper won his first championship. The Sixers? Well, they eventually went on to win nine of 82 games. This sort of thing rarely happens in today's NBA. But the Lakers sure are glad it did back then.
NBAE/Getty ImagesKen Regan
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the LA Lakers for Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters, Elmore Smith and Dave Myers (1975)
After six seasons in Milwaukee, Abdul-Jabbar had been through it all. The Bucks nabbed a championship early in Kareem's career, then sort of leveled off, as the sky-hooking center typically received little help. The Bucks were typically solid-to-strong in the immediate aftermath of this trade, and the Lakers turned into instant contenders. Yes, Magic Johnson was a major reason Kareem won his first LA-based title four years later, but it wasn't all about Magic. Imagine him playing with the guys for whom the Lakers surrendered to get Kareem.
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1. Bill Russell to Boston for Ed McCauley and Cliff Hagan (1956)
A lot of NBA types still make a case for Russell being the best player ever. And why not? He won five MVPs and 11 championships as a player. But the old St. Louis Hawks knew they simply could not afford to keep Russell after he went second overall in the draft. So they held out until they got two really good ones in Hagan and McCauley. Unfortunately for them, Russell turned out to be more than a really good one. And that's better than what was saved by the Hawks.