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40+ of the Biggest Trades in NBA History, Ranked

Trades NBA Ranked Intro
Trades NBA Ranked Intro
View the Most Important Trades in NBA History
While some NBA teams rely on their scouts to select the finest up-and-coming stars at the yearly draft, others prefer to use their large finances to entice established players to their teams with attractive contract offers that appear too good to refuse. Let’s examine some of the most significant trades in NBA history that influenced the futures of both individuals and organizations.

Emeka Okafor to the Charlotte Bobcats, position 45 (2004)
The Charlotte Bobcats, who were founded in 2004, made a move for Okafor, who was the Los Angeles Clippers’ second-round pick at the time, in an effort to start their NBA careers off on the right foot.

Emeka Okafor to the Charlotte Bobcats, position 45 (2004)
Despite the fact that Charlotte finished the season in 15th place in the Eastern Conference standings, Okafor emerged as one of the team’s few bright spots. Okafor won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 2004 with averages of 15.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks.

Tyson Chandler to the New Orleans Hornets, number 44 (2006)
New Orleans was founded in 2002 after the Charlotte Hornets relocated there, and it hasn’t been known for making expensive moves. Even yet, starting with Tyson Chandler, this does not imply that they haven’t amassed their fair share of skill throughout the years.

Tyson Chandler to the New Orleans Hornets, number 44 (2006)
A talented young center was acquired by the Hornets in exchange for sending P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith to the Bulls. Chandler dominated the NBA in offensive rebounds in each of his first two seasons with New Orleans. More significantly, he guided the Hornets to their first championship as a new team when they won the Southwest Division.

43. Los Angeles Clippers sign Ron Harper (1989)
Sometimes it’s better to own up to your errors and change than to let a calamity happen just to maintain your pride. By exchanging Danny Ferry, the second overall pick, for Ron Harper, a five-year Cavs veteran, the Clippers accomplished exactly that.

43. Los Angeles Clippers sign Ron Harper (1989)
After 15 years of futility, the Clippers finally made it into the playoffs thanks to Harper, who turned out to be the guard they so desperately needed. The cherry on top was that he managed to get them a second playoff spot a year later, a seemingly unachievable feat.

42. Golden State Warriors acquire Baron Davis (2005)
The Charlotte Hornets’ need to offload players was logical given their financial situation. Even yet, it appeared like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Warriors to land the two-time NBA All-Star Davis without even giving up a lottery pick. The truth of this assumption would shortly be established.

42. Golden State Warriors acquire Baron Davis (2005)
Davis, who served as the face of the Warriors’ “We Believe” era, contributed to the revival of the team’s hopeless fan base. This conviction allowed the Warriors to go toward four additional NBA titles.

41. Denver Nuggets sign Allen Iverson (2006)
The Philadelphia 76ers made the decision to split ways with the ailing Allen Iverson after the team missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season. In contrast, the Nuggets were eager to combine Iverson with star player Carmelo Anthony to see what the combination could produce.

Allen Iverson to the Denver Nuggets, position 41 (2006)
As a result of Iverson and Anthony’s contributions, the Nuggets were able to secure the sixth slot in the Western Conference standings, earning Denver its first-ever spot in the playoffs.

Alex English to the Denver Nuggets, number 40 (1980)
Alex English had three and a half seasons in the NBA under his belt and was already known as a bright young player. However, not everyone was confident that the Nuggets’ choice to swap George McGinnis for the prospect would be profitable.

Alex English to the Denver Nuggets, number 40 (1980)
English would eventually disprove his critics. English became the face of the organization and helped the Nuggets develop for the future throughout his ten years with the team, helping the team win two division titles and twice becoming the NBA’s leading scorer.

Pau Gasol joining the Memphis Grizzlies (2001)
Gasol, the third overall choice in the 2001 draft, was immediately a goal for the Grizzlies. In an effort to establish itself in the league, this relatively new team decided to deal Shareef Abdur-Rahim to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for his draft rights.

Pau Gasol joining the Memphis Grizzlies (2001)
Gasol made a big impression right away in Memphis and went on to become the first foreign player to win NBA Rookie of the Year. His support of the squad in subsequent seasons, when he helped the Grizzlies earn their first-ever postseason spot in 2003, was perhaps even more significant.

Jason Kidd to the New Jersey Nets, number 38 (2001)
The year 2001 signaled a new beginning for the Nets. With Stephon Marbury as their starting point guard for more than two years, they had little success and continually missing the playoffs. Jason Kidd, Chris Dudley, Johnny Newman, and Soumaila Samake were also included in the transaction that sent Marbury to the Suns.

Jason Kidd to the New Jersey Nets, number 38 (2001)
Kidd and his new squad hit it off right away, and over the course of the following six years, he became the franchise’s face. Kidd’s most notable accomplishment was leading the Nets to two NBA Finals, the best result in team history.

Oscar Robertson to the Milwaukee Bucks, position 37 (1970)
The basketball community as a whole was shocked when Robertson was moved by the Cincinnati Royals to the Milwaukee Bucks, and many people questioned what led Royals coach Bob Cousy to part ways with his team’s brightest player. Robertson stated, “I think he was wrong, and I will never forget that.” In the end, he was correct.

Oscar Robertson to the Milwaukee Bucks, position 37 (1970)
In 1971, Robertson led the Bucks to their first-ever NBA Championship when paired with second-year Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Robertson also added a Conference Championship and three more Division crowns to the Bucks’ collection of trophies.

Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, number 36 (2014)
Following LeBron James’ comeback, 2014 seemed to be a year of growth for the Cavaliers. Once Love arrived from the Minnesota Timberwolves, he teamed up with Kyrie Irving and James to form the “Big Three” of the Cavaliers.

Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, number 36 (2014)
Although Cleveland’s first season with the “Big Three” helped them earn their first playoff berth in five seasons, the team would finally realize its potential in 2015. Cleveland won its first NBA Championship after finishing the regular season in first position.

Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors, number 35 (2018)
After controversy over Leonard’s injury status, the San Antonio Spurs and the rising Toronto Raptors reached an agreement to split ways. The Raptors won their first NBA title under Leonard’s leadership.

Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors, number 35 (2018)
Toronto has succeeded in building on Leonard’s legacy despite the fact that he only spent one season there before being traded to the Clippers. In the three seasons after his departure, Toronto has won another division title and earned two playoff spots. Conversely, the Spurs are going through a complete reconstruction.

Dominique Wilkins to the Atlanta Hawks, number 34 (1982)
The fact that the Utah Jazz moved Wilkins to the Hawks prior to the start of the season suggests that they were unaware of the caliber of talent they had gotten when they selected Wilkins out of Georgia in the draft.

Dominique Wilkins to the Atlanta Hawks, number 34 (1982)
Wilkins appeared to be in his element as soon as he arrived in Atlanta, winning over the crowd with his court acrobatics and flips. He became Atlanta’s greatest-ever player by consistently guiding the underachieving Hawks to postseason appearances and two division crowns.

Elvin Hayes to the Washington Bullets, number 33 (1972)
In addition to causing Hayes a lot of stress, playing for the Houston Rockets also interfered with his sleep. Hayes remembered helplessly, “I was expected to manufacture a winner out of a team that didn’t have the potential.” Upon reaching Washington, Hayes let all of his worry go.

Elvin Hayes to the Washington Bullets, number 33 (1972)
With the help of Wes Unseld and others, Hayes led the Bullets to three NBA Finals. The NBA Championship was ultimately won by Unseld and the Bullets in 1978, and it would go down as the finest moment in team history.

32. Seattle SuperSonics sign Lonnie Shelton (1978)
The SuperSonics were eager to get their hands on a game-changer that could help them win the NBA Finals in 1979 after they were defeated in the 1977–78 season. The NBA gave the Knicks their 1979 first-round pick and Lonnie Shelton as payment for signing SuperSonics free agent Marvin Webster.

32. Seattle SuperSonics sign Lonnie Shelton (1978)
Although he might not have been well-known, Shelton immediately established himself as a valuable rotation player. Throughout the 1979 season, the SuperSonics, who went on to win their only NBA Championship, frequently relied on the 6′ 8″ powerhouse.

31. Chris Paul joining the LA Clippers (2011)
The Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers’ local rivals, had long cast a pall over them. Therefore, the Clippers saw the NBA commissioner’s decision to block the Lakers’ deal for Chris Paul as a perfect opportunity to acquire one of the game’s best point guards for their underachieving team.

31. Chris Paul joining the LA Clippers (2011)
The Clippers made the playoffs five times in a row thanks to “The Point God.” Most significantly, they achieved their first trophies in franchise history by winning back-to-back Division crowns.

Earl Monroe joins the New York Knicks (30) (1971)
Monroe lost interest in Baltimore after a protracted argument with the Bullets regarding frequent payment delays. As he submitted his transfer request, a frustrated Monroe informed Bullets owner Abe Pollin, “Don’t want a raise, don’t want Baltimore.” The Knicks acted quickly to sign this gifted guard.

Earl Monroe joins the New York Knicks (30) (1971)
The Knicks, who were the current NBA Champions, were eager to build upon their first championship. The Knicks accomplished this by winning the championship once more in 1973 with Monroe among their ranks.

Mark Aguirre to the Detroit Pistons, number 29 (1989)
Mark Aguirre’s transfer to the Pistons was warmly welcomed by Mavericks supporters, if not cheered. As Aguirre was swapped for a disgruntled Adrian Dantley, one remark on Sports Illustrated stated, “Today should be an all-day party because he’s gone.”

Mark Aguirre to the Detroit Pistons, number 29 (1989)
Dallas had no idea Aguirre would return. Aguirre would play a crucial part in taking the Pistons to the NBA’s pinnacle despite no longer being the team’s star forward and All-Star as he once was. In 1989 and 1990, Aguirre and the Pistons won back-to-back NBA Championships.

Chris Webber to the Sacramento Kings, number 28 (1998)
The Sacramento Kings, who were once NBA Champions, had only only reached the postseason once in the previous ten years. Chris Webber had proven himself as a capable power forward at the same time, but he had lost favor with the Washington Bullets.

Chris Webber to the Sacramento Kings, number 28 (1998)
In the end, the Kings would benefit from the loss of the Bullets since Webber would lead the team to the playoffs in his first campaign in Sacramento. In addition, he developed into a franchise player, assisting them in winning two division titles and seven straight seasons of playoff appearances.

Maurice Lucas joins the Portland Trail Blazers (number 27) (1976)
The Trail Blazers had yet to reach the postseason, much less take home several championships, as they entered their sixth season. Furthermore, the development of the franchise was impeded by altercations in the locker room and religious conflicts. Portland wouldn’t find the star they required to carry them forward until the ABA-NBA merger had been finalized.

Maurice Lucas joins the Portland Trail Blazers (number 27) (1976)
Given his close friendship with top player Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas’ selection in the 1976 draft was crucial. The Trail Blazers won their first and only NBA Championship thanks to Lucas’ influence.

26. Carmelo Anthony joining the New York Knicks (2011)
The New York Knicks appeared to be far behind their 1970s heyday in 2011. They had not only fallen short of winning another NBA Championship but had also missed the playoffs for six consecutive years. There was obviously a need for a change.

26. Carmelo Anthony joining the New York Knicks (2011)
Anthony increased the Knicks’ chances of winning the NBA championship as soon as he arrived from Denver. The Knicks qualified for three straight playoffs, yet they never captured a third NBA championship. Anthony was voted the 2013 scoring champion.

25. Boston Celtics acquire Kevin McHale (1980)
Even though the Boston Celtics had the first overall pick in the 1980 draft, they chose to trade center Robert Parish and the Warriors’ first-round pick to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for this spot and another first-round pick. This pick was later used by the Celtics to choose McHale.

25. Boston Celtics acquire Kevin McHale (1980)
McHale and Parish were a member of one of the Celtics’ most dominant lines ever in the early 1980s, when they dominated the NBA. McHale led the Celtics to three NBA titles during his 13-year career.

24. Boston Celtics sign Robert Parish (1980)
When the 1980 draft was approaching, the Celtics made the risky decision to trade Robert Parish and the third pick to the Golden State Warriors for their first overall pick and the 13th pick. Thankfully, taking this chance would pay off.

24. Boston Celtics sign Robert Parish (1980)
The Celtics chose Kevin McHale with their third choice, and he would team up with Parish to form the best frontcourt in NBA history. Parish and McHale led the Celtics to five NBA Finals and three NBA Championships as a team.

Moses Malone to the Philadelphia 76ers, position 23 (1982)
The Sixers were desperate to find a counterpunch to Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after losing three NBA Finals in the previous six years. Malone would provide their star-studded team, which included Julius Erving, Bobby Jones, and Maurice Cheeks, the final touch they required.

Moses Malone to the Philadelphia 76ers, position 23 (1982)
The Sixers were more than glad to trade a first-round selection and 32-year-old Caldwell Jones for the reigning NBA MVP because the Rockets were unwilling to continue covering Malone’s salary. Malone would lead the Sixers to the NBA Championship in exchange.

Los Angeles Lakers sign Dwight Howard, clause 22 (2012)
The Lakers were desperate to reach their previous levels after falling in the NBA Playoffs semifinals. The Lakers may have a chance to restart their operations by attracting then-five-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard to the team.

Los Angeles Lakers sign Dwight Howard, clause 22 (2012)
Howard’s season with the Lakers laid the groundwork for a strong connection, even if it ended with an unimpressive 7th-place finish in the Western Conference and a first-round playoff loss. Howard would rejoin the Lakers in 2019–20, helping them to capture their first NBA Championship in ten years.

21. Houston Rockets sign Vernon Maxwell (1990)
It’s fair to say that Maxwell had his fair share of disciplinary difficulties after three failed drug tests at the University of Florida and the assault of a Spurs fan at a nightclub while he was in San Antonio. Many questioned the Rockets’ choice when they paid $50,000 for the player’s rights.

21. Houston Rockets sign Vernon Maxwell (1990)
With the exception of a few altercations, Houston managed to keep Maxwell in check while also incorporating him into their most successful lineup. Maxwell was Houston’s second-highest scorer in 1994, helping the team win their first NBA title.

20. San Antonio Spurs sign Kawhi Leonard (2011)
Gregg Popovich, the president of the Spurs, was aware of the danger when he dealt guard George Hill to the Indiana Pacers on draft night for the 15th overall choice. He remembered that the club needed more size, even if it meant losing one of his favorite players.

20. San Antonio Spurs sign Kawhi Leonard (2011)
Kawhi Leonard, a strong small forward who would go on to defend against LeBron James and win the NBA Finals MVP award as the Rockets thrashed Miami to claim the 2015 NBA Championship, was selected with the fifteenth overall choice.

19. Golden State Warriors sign Andre Iguodala (2013)
Iguodala, a star player for the Nuggets, made the offer to take a pay reduction in order to play for the Warriors, so desperate was he to realize his ambition. However, the group was unable to put together enough money to beat out rival offers.

19. Golden State Warriors sign Andre Iguodala (2013)
Bob Myers, the general manager of the Warriors, traded a number of players to Utah in exchange for draft picks as the forward was about to sign with the Spurs, giving him the needed cap room. Iguodala would lead Golden State to three NBA Championships in four years after the tense transaction was finalized.

Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, page 18 (2019)
When Davis publicly requested a trade in January 2019, he finally made his intention to leave New Orleans known after years of rumors. While both the Celtics and the Lakers tried to close in on the player, Davis’s attention was drawn to the Lakers.

Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, page 18 (2019)
The Lakers’ fortunes changed after Davis moved to the West Coast after six seasons of missing the playoffs. Together with LeBron James, Davis brought the Lakers back to their heyday and led them to their first NBA title in more than ten years.

17. Houston Rockets sign Tracy McGrady (2004)
The Rockets have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons. The team, in desperate need of firepower, set its sights on Tracy McGrady, the past two seasons’ NBA scoring champion.

17. Houston Rockets sign Tracy McGrady (2004)
The Rockets were able to start a franchise rebuild thanks to McGrady, breaking a four-season playoff drought. Even more significantly, the squad started to develop sustainably for the future, appearing regularly in the playoffs, and winning future divisions four times.

16. Miami Heat sign Shaquille O’Neal (2004)
With the Lakers, Shaq was at the pinnacle of basketball from 2000 to 2002, winning three straight NBA Championships. Even still, the good times couldn’t last forever, as O’Neal’s tenure with the Lakers was almost up due to a worsening relationship with Kobe Bryant and a dry spell.

16. Miami Heat sign Shaquille O’Neal (2004)
Shaq transferred to the young Miami Heat in quest of a new beginning. The Heat were able to win their first-ever NBA Championship in 2006 thanks to O’Neal’s big-game mindset and expertise.

15. Dallas Mavericks sign Dirk Nowitzki (1998)
Robert “Tractor” Traylor of Michigan was selected by the Mavericks with the sixth overall choice in the 1998 Draft. With their ninth pick, the Milwaukee Bucks selected West German Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks then made history with a trade on the final day of the season.

15. Dallas Mavericks sign Dirk Nowitzki (1998)
After that, Nowitzki had a career filled with accolades in Dallas, where he was a 14-time NBA All-Star and led the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA Title. The Mavericks turned from outsiders to regular playoff challengers under Nowitzki.

14. Detroit Pistons to sign Bill Laimbeer (1982)
Bill Laimbeer had a strong desire to leave Cleveland after slipping in the Cavs’ hierarchy. Even still, the Cavaliers weren’t about to relinquish their player easy because they were aware of the Detroit Pistons’ interest in him.

14. Detroit Pistons to sign Bill Laimbeer (1982)
He was eventually captured by Paul Mokeski, Phil Hubbard, one of Detroit’s three 1982 first-round picks, and their second-round pick. Despite the agreement appearing to be one-sided, the Pistons ended up coming out on top. For the Pistons, this “The Bad Boys” member won back-to-back NBA championships.

Dave DeBusschere joins the New York Knicks 13. (1968)
The Knicks started a rebuild in the 1960s centered on homegrown players like Willis Reed and Dave Stallworth since they had yet to experience NBA glory of their own. This did not preclude them from obtaining excellent talent from other sources, either.

Dave DeBusschere joins the New York Knicks 13. (1968)
The Knicks acquired forward Dave DeBusschere from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komvines. He soon rose to the top four for the Knicks, who he helped win NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers to sign LeBron James (2014)
LeBron James may have shattered the hearts of Cavs supporters with “The Decision” to depart for Miami, but four years later he made a comeback to the ailing team. He would go above and above this time to make up for the Cavaliers’ heartache from four years prior.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers to sign LeBron James (2014)
James was a crucial component of the star trio that would rekindle the Cavaliers’ title ambitions, along with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. LeBron led the Cavaliers to the NBA Championship in 2016 and earned MVP honors for the Finals.

Magic Johnson joins the Los Angeles Lakers 11. (1979)
The Lakers earned a first-round draft pick in 1979 as compensation after Lakers veteran Gail Goodrich was signed by the New Orleans Jazz. The top overall pick back then was decided by a coin toss between the occupants of the top two spots.

Magic Johnson joins the Los Angeles Lakers 11. (1979)
The Lakers were able to sign Magic Johnson out of Michigan thanks to arguably the most significant coin flip in history. Johnson spent 12 and a half seasons with the Lakers, leading them to eight NBA Finals appearances and five championship rings.

10. Boston Celtics acquire Kevin Garnett (2007)
Kevin Garnett developed into a franchise player throughout his twelve seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, finally helping the underachieving team win the division and advance to the playoffs for the first time ever. Naturally, Garnett won the 2004 NBA MVP award as a result.

10. Boston Celtics acquire Kevin Garnett (2007)
The Celtics seized the chance to sign Garnett to a contract with Boston once his no-trade clause finally expired. The Celtics were finally able to put more than twenty years of misery behind them after adding Garnett to their team, and they won the 2008 NBA Championship.

9. Wilt Chamberlain joins the Lakers in Los Angeles (1968)
It made sense for the Philadelphia 76ers to want to hang onto Wilt Chamberlain for as long as possible considering he was a three-time NBA MVP. Sadly, Chamberlain started to go westward, where he would brush elbows with other A-list celebrities, because he thought he had outgrown the 76ers.

9. Wilt Chamberlain joins the Lakers in Los Angeles (1968)
Chamberlain only had eyes for the Lakers, despite the Los Angeles Stars of the ABA offering to make him a part-owner if he signed with them. He helped the Lakers win their first NBA Championship in over 20 years in 1972.

Dennis Johnson joins the Boston Celtics 8. (1983)
The sorrow of losing to the Bucks in straight games in the 1983 Eastern Conference playoffs proved to be too much for the Celtics. In fact, Rick Robey acknowledged that his trade to the Phoenix Suns that summer was the pinnacle of his professional life.

Dennis Johnson joins the Boston Celtics 8. (1983)
He had no idea how much of a game-changer his Boston replacement would be. As part of one of the greatest Celtics dynasties ever, Johnson would go on to help the Celtics win two NBA Championships in 1984 and 1986.

7. Los Angeles Lakers to sign Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1976)
The Lakers were in desperate need of a new icon to carry the team forward following Wilt Chamberlain’s retirement. At the same time, NBA champion Abdul-Jabbar of the Milwaukee Bucks had grown weary of playing for the Bucks. In order to quickly get Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers sold four players.

7. Los Angeles Lakers to sign Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1976)
During his 14 years in Los Angeles, Abdul-Jabbar proved to be the talisman the Lakers needed, leading the team to five NBA championships. Additionally, Abdul-Jabbar went on to hold the record for most NBA points ever scored.

Dennis Rodman joins the Chicago Bulls (1995)
Rodman spent three seasons playing for the frustrated San Antonio Spurs, who were unable to advance past the Conference Finals. San Antonio traded Rodman to the Bulls, who appeared to be going through their own rebuild, after losing to the Houston Rockets.

Dennis Rodman joins the Chicago Bulls (1995)
Rodman was a divisive figure and one of the best defenders in the league. Despite skepticism around his arrival, the Bulls were propelled to three more NBA Titles with Rodman making the most league rebounds on each occasion.

5. LeBron James to Miami Heat (2010) (2010)
Aptly known as The Decision, LeBron’s choice to move to leave his hometown of Cleveland for Miami as a free agent was so shocking that it was even made into a TV special.

5. LeBron James to Miami Heat (2010) (2010)
While many fanbases and pundits treated James and the Heat as villains, he and his teammates overcame this scrutiny, instead transforming their fury into impactful performances on the court. James’ approach to the situation proved correct, as he would go on to be named NBA MVP while leading the Heat to back-to-back NBA Championships.

4. Kobe Bryant to Los Angeles Lakers (1996) (1996)
At just 17 years old, Kobe Bryant was already on the Lakers’ radar. While deals for high school ball players were largely viewed with skepticism, the Lakers decided to take the leap of faith by drafting Bryant as the 13th overall pick in 1996.

4. Kobe Bryant to Los Angeles Lakers (1996) (1996)
Byrant was well aware of his critics, admitting, “I’m sure people will question me because of my age. That’s the big mystery for most people.” Still, he instantly gelled with the Lakers, pairing with Shaquille O’Neal to win three consecutive NBA Championships at the turn of the century.

3. Scottie Pippen to Chicago Bulls (1987) (1987)
Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics as the fifth overall pick in the 1987 draft, the Bulls also expressed a keen interest in Pippen given his impressive college career. So much so, that they were willing to part ways with Olden Polynice and two draft picks to bring Pippen to Chicago.

3. Scottie Pippen to Chicago Bulls (1987) (1987)
This proved to be a fantastic decision, given the six NBA Championships that Pippen would bring to Chicago over an illustrious 11-year tenure. Alongside Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman, Pippen established the greatest NBA dynasty of all time.

2. Bill Russell to Boston Celtics (1956) (1956)
When the St. Louis Hawks drafted Russell as the second overall pick in 1956, Russell was unwilling to play for a segregated team. So, the Hawks decided to trade Russell to the Celtics in return for St. Louis native Ed Macauley. The Hawks would soon regret this decision.

2. Bill Russell to Boston Celtics (1956) (1956)
Although the Hawks would win the 1958 NBA Championship, this was nothing in comparison to what Russell would achieve in Boston. The talented center would take his team to 11 NBA Championships in 13 seasons, becoming an all-time great.

1. Wilt Chamberlain to Philadelphia 76ers (1965) (1965)
Following the 1965 All-Star Game, the Warriors and the Sixers got together to discuss the trade of Wilt Chamberlain. The league’s top scorer for five seasons running, the Warriors saw no point in paying his salary seeing as they remained in last place.

1. Wilt Chamberlain to Philadelphia 76ers (1965) (1965)
Naturally, the Sixers were happy to help the cash-strapped Warriors out. In addition to being the leading scorer for another two seasons, Chamberlain became a crucial component of the Sixers’ success, leading them to the 1968 NBA Title.

40+ of the Biggest Trades in NBA History, Ranked

 

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