1. Julius Erving acquired by the Philadelphia 76ers (1976)
The original “free agency acquisition,” even though Julius Erving wasn’t technically a free agent. When the New Jersey Nets arrived in the NBA (from the ABA) in 1976, the New York Knicks demanded that the Nets pay them $4.8 million for “invading” the Knicks NBA territory. That forced Nets owner Roy Boe to go back on his promise to give Erving a salary raise, which led to Erving holding out during training camp. Several teams — including the Knicks — lobbied to obtain Erving from the Nets, and the 76ers eventually bought out Erving’s contract from the Nets for a total of $6 million. In Philadelphia, Erving became an 11-time All Star, the NBA’ MVP in 1981, and NBA Champion in 1983. More than 40-years later, Nets fans still aren’t over the loss of Dr. J.