Top 10 Biggest Trades That Would’ve Changed NBA History

A lot of things happen in the NBA right before our eyes without us even noticing, as General Managers are working around the clock to make the best deal and improve their squad for the future.

Even if some surprising trades shock the world every now and then, you’d be shocked to know about some of the moves that actually don’t go through because one of the parties involved eventually backs down.

Over the course of history, we’ve seen several moves that changed the NBA completely, and today, we’re going to let you know about the trades and signings that almost happened and that could’ve changed basketball the way we know it nowadays.

10. Scottie Pippen To The Seattle Supersonics

Scottie Pippen doesn’t get enough recognition for his talents, but truth to be told, he was the best small forward in the history of the game before LeBron James’ debut, and one of the main reasons why the Chicago Bulls were able to win 6 NBA Championships.

Even so, the Bulls were pretty close to trade him for Shawn Kemp during Jordan’s first retirement. As a matter of fact, MJ himself actually advised the Sonics to pull the triggers. Eventually, the Bulls backed down, Jordan came back and the Bulls won 3 more rings.

9. Charles Barkley To The Los Angeles Lakers

According to reports, Charles Barkley was pretty close to being dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers back in 1992 in return for James Worthy and Elden Campbell. As a matter of fact, the deal was so close to happening, that Barkley even got drunk to celebrate.

Eventually, the trade wasn’t going to follow through but Barkley still left the team to join the Phoenix Suns, as he had outgrown the Sixers and was desperate to leave and play for a Championship, something that never happened.

8. Tim Duncan To The Orlando Magic


Back in 2000, Tim Duncan was set to become an unrestricted free agent, and according to reports, the decision came down to the wire between resigning with San Antonio or joining the Orlando Magic. Apparently, he was really close to playing in the East, as the Magic were keen to build around their promising 1-2 punch featuring Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady.

Had this move went through, the Spurs would’ve changed Spurs culture for good, as Tim Duncan went on to become the greatest player in the history of San Antonio, and the only player to have a starring role in all of their 5 Championships.

7. Chris Paul To The Los Angeles Lakers

Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers was a done deal, with the Lakers keen to pair him with Kobe and Gasol to lead the league and him keen and desperate to leave the sluggish New Orleans Hornets back in 2011.

Nonetheless, David Stern, who was league commissioner at the time, vetoed the deal as the Hornets were owned by the league. Had this move went through, the Hornets would’ve landed Goran Dragic, Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, and a 1st round pick, and perhaps they would’ve never gotten Anthony Davis.

6. Kobe Bryant To The Chicago Bulls

Kobe Bryant is known for being the greatest Los Angeles Lakers, leading them to 5 NBA Championships over two decades dressed in purple and gold. Nonetheless, he was actually pretty close to joining the Chicago Bulls to carry Michael Jordan’s torch.

Back in 2004 Bryant almost joined Bulls after losing in the Finals, and he was even looking for a home in Lake Forest. With the Lakers eventually trading Shaq, he decided to stay and sign a 136 million contract. Then, 3 years later, he tried to force a move to the Bulls as the Lakers were mightily struggling, but eventually, they landed Pau Gasol and Bryant won 2 more rings at LA.

5. LeBron, Wade And Rose – The Big 3

Back in 2010, the Chicago Bulls actually had a huge shot at signing both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, as they had the cap space to pull it off and the most promising player in the league in Derrick Rose.

Rose was LeBron’s only threat in the Eastern Conference and with Joakim Noah’s defense and Luol Deng’s scoring punch, there wasn’t a team in the world capable of beating Chicago. As you may know by now, James joined Wade in the Heat and the rest is history.

4. Kobe, Garnett And Gasol – The Big 3

Back in 2007, the Los Angeles Lakers were pretty close to landing one of the toughest two-way players this game has ever seen in Kevin Garnett, but the Timberwolves eventually traded him to their longtime rivals, the Celtics.

Apparently, Los Angeles made an offer including both Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum to the Timberwolves, while also being able to either keep Marc Gasol or trade him for Pau. Eventually, Garnett beat the Lakers in the Finals, but they got back at him.

3. LeBron, Wade, Bosh, And Carmelo

The Miami Heat was already the team to beat since 2010 when they put together their famous big 3 with LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. Moreover, they could’ve added yet another piece in 2014, as Carmelo Anthony was really close to joining the team.

With the team losing in the Finals against San Antonio, all players were willing to take a pay cut in order to sign Melo. Sadly, the Knicks offered him a max deal and that kind of money wasn’t easy to decline.

2. Michael Jordan To The Los Angeles Clippers

Could you imagine a world where Michael Jordan had played for the Los Angeles Clippers? Well, that was actually pretty close to happening, as the struggling Bulls seriously considered moving the “Black Cat” to Los Angeles, a team desperate to get him as their franchise player for the future.

The Clippers were so keen to land Jordan that they offered Terry Cummings for him in 1984, then the 1st and 6th overall picks for him in 1988, but eventually the Bulls rejected both of those offers.

1. Jordan, Olajuwon And Drexler – The Big 3

Back in 1984, the Houston Rockets were pretty close to building the toughest team this game has ever seen, as they could’ve put together Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, and Clyde Drexler.

In order to pull this off, they were about to trade Ralph Sampson to Portland for Drexler and the 2nd overall pick. Sampson was the superstar the Blazers were craving, and they would’ve had the chance to draft The Dream and his Royal Airness with the 1st and 2nd overall picks.

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