NBA: Trash for Treasure – Worst Trades of the Last Decade – Part 1

When NBA teams make a trade, they usually aim to make the team better by giving away as little as possible while getting as much as possible in return. Well, in the trades we are going to talk about today, the teams did the exact opposite of that. Since the NBA hisory is filled with lots of bad trades, we are going to restrict this article to include only the worst trades of the last 10 years. Let’s take a look at them:

#. All the bad Isaiah Thomas trades

The diminutive point guard has been involved in a string of bad trades throughout his career. It’s impossible to single out one as the worst of the lot, so we will go through all of them. He started his career with the Sacramento Kings after being picked 60th (and last) in the 2011 NBA Draft. He surprised everyone with his play and was averaging 20 points per game by his third season. However, the Kings are very well known for jumping on any opportunity to mess up their roster, and they traded Thomas to the Phoenix Suns for a trade exception in the salary cap and a player who never played a single game for the Kings. On the surface, it seemed like one of the most lopsided trades ever made as the Suns got a 20 points per game scorer for basically nothing. However, the team already had Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, and the addition of Thomas made the rotation even more puzzling. When this ridiculous assortment of three starting calibre point guards didn’t work, the Suns traded Thomas to the Boston Celtics for Marcus Thornton and a first round pick. This directly led to the next bad trade.

#. Kyrie Irving trade from Cleveland

For a change, Isaiah Thomas was on the other end of a bad trade. Before the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar point guard, Kyrie Irving‘s discontentment with the team was leaked in the media and Irving eventually threatened to undergo a knee surgery and miss the upcoming season if he wasn’t traded away from the team. The Boston Celtics jumped on the opportunity and traded Thomas, Jae Crowder and a first round pick to the Cavaliers for Irving. Since the Cavaliers were forced to make the trade in a hurry, it was inevitable that they were not going to end up with a sweet deal. Even though Thomas had averaged 29 points per game in the previous season, he was coming off a serious hip injury. The Cavs almost declined the trade when the severity of Thomas’ injury was revealed to them, but an extra second round pick helped them begrudgingly agree to trade Irving away. The trade was an immediate downgrade for the Cavs roster and they couldn’t really utilize him in a proper way. Consequently, he was traded away to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. The Brooklyn Nets pick that they received in the trade, turned out to be Colin Sexton. Which means that the Cavs traded one of the best NBA players (Kyrie Irving) for three below average players in the end. Definitely one of the worst trades ever. And let’s not forget, it also led to the demise of LeBron James from the team. The Cavaliers are now back to the bottom of the East while the Celtics are among the strongest team in the conference.

#. Kawhi Leonard trade from Indiana

Ever since the San Antonio Spurs drafted George Hill in 2008, the Indiana Pacers have had a strange obsession with him. They tried to trade for him that season, and that failed. In 2010, they almost traded the 10th pick in the draft for him. The pick turned out to be Paul George. The Pacers had a strong and promising core with Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Lance Stephenson. However, they had a very obvious weakness at the point guard spot and believed that George Hill will be the answer.
In the 2011 Draft, the Pacers selected Kawhi Leonard and immediately sent him to the Spurs for Hill. He played with the Pacers for five seasons, averaging 12 points and 3 assists a game. Kawhi Leonard on the other hand, went to win an NBA Championship, two Defensive Player of the Year awards and a Finals MVP with the Spurs. He has established himself as one of the best players in the league and has become a perennial MVP candidate. Hill on the other hand, has just been an average role player at best.

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