No matter the sport, nothing excites fans more than a blockbuster trade. In the NBA, there have been some wild deals over the years. However, for every mega-deal that gets completed, there are just as many huge trades that were talked about but were never completed for one reason or another. It seems only fitting to look back on some of the “almost” blockbuster trades in NBA history and speculate on how they might have altered the fortunes of the teams involved.
Charles Barkley to the Lakers
Would Sir Charles have looked good in yellow and purple? We almost found out when the 76ers appeared to have a deal in place to send Barkley and Ron Anderson to the Lakers for James Worthy and Elden Campbell. Barkley was excited for the deal, only to see the 76ers back out at the 11th hour.
Philadelphia eventually traded Barkley to the Suns, who reached the NBA Finals in 1993 with Barkley winning MVP. Meanwhile, the Lakers finished with a losing record that season, losing to Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs. Also, they didn’t make it back to the NBA Finals until 2000.
Kobe Bryant to Pistons or Bulls
In 2007, the Lakers had potential deals set up with both the Pistons and Bulls to ship Bryant east. The Pistons would have sent Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince to the Lakers, putting Kobe on a Detroit team with Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace.
Meanwhile, the Bulls were prepared to send Joakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas, and Luol Deng to get Kobe. Of course, Kobe had a no-trade clause and decided to stay in L.A. while he was still in his prime. He led the Lakers to NBA titles in 2009 and 2010, so it’s clear it would have been a huge mistake for the Lakers if either trade had gone through.
Chris Paul to the Lakers
This was a proposed three-team trade with the Lakers getting Paul and the Rockets getting Pau Gasol while the Hornets got Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, among others.
It was a done deal before Commissioner David Stern nixed it. It would have been amazing to see Paul and Kobe in the same backcourt. Four days after the trade fell apart, the Hornets still managed to send Paul to Los Angeles, only it was the Clippers who got him.
James Harden for Klay Thompson
This would have been weird, right? When the Thunder decided to trade Harden, they first tried to pawn him off on Golden State. However, Oklahoma City wasn’t thrilled with the players the Warriors were offering.
If it had happened, would the Warriors have become a dynasty with Harden the no. 2 for Stephen Curry? At this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Curry and Thompson staring for the Warriors.
Steph Curry for Andrew Bogut
Speaking of Curry, the Warriors nearly shipped him to Milwaukee during the 2011-12 season for Bogut. This was before Curry was arguably the best shooter in NBA history when ankle and foot problems had Golden State concerned about his long-term prospects.
Of course, the Bucks had similar concerns, so they ended up trading Bogut to the Warriors for Monta Ellis and Kwame Brown. Obviously, things worked out for Golden State while the Bucks get to live with regret. With Curry and Giannis playing together, imagine what could have been for Milwaukee if the team’s medical staff hadn’t doubted Curry’s ankles.