It’s not every day that a player at the peak of their skills gets traded away, but it’s been known to happen. In fact, with the way the NBA does business these days, it happens a little more often than you realize. With Russell Westbrook now being traded twice during the prime of his career, we thought we’d take a look at the other NBA stars who were traded when they were still playing at the best.
The Bucks didn’t necessarily want to trade Abdul-Jabbar, but he forced their hand in 1975 after having already won three MVP awards and help deliver Milwaukee the 1971 NBA title. The Lakers gave up what was an enticing package of players at the time, although ultimately it was well worth the cost.
After the trade to Los Angeles, Abdul-Jabbar would go on to win three more MVPs and help the Lakers win five championships in what ended up being a Hall of Fame career.
Kidd was at the top of his game when the Suns traded him to the Nets in 2001 with Stephon Marbury being the best player going the other way. He had led the NBA in assists in each of his last three seasons in Phoenix and he would do the same twice more while in New Jersey. One could argue that the Suns got the best out of Kidd.
But he did have his best scoring season and make four All-Star Games while playing with the Nets, so he had plenty of great years immediately following the trade.
Young NBA fans may not know that Maravich was traded at the peak of his career. After he made the All-Star Team in back-to-back years, the New Orleans Jazz paid a king’s ransom to get him from Atlanta.
Team-wise, the move didn’t pay off for the Jazz, although Maravich continued to play at an all-star level and led the league in scoring during the 1976-77 season.
Chamberlain began his career with the Philadelphia Warriors, moved with the team to San Francisco in 1962, only to be traded back to Philadelphia in 1965 after the 76ers became a franchise in 1963.
Of course, prior to the trade Chamberlain had led the league in scoring in every season, including the record-setting 50.4 points per game during the 1961-62 campaign while the Warriors were still in Philadelphia. After the trade to the 76ers, Chamberlain won the MVP three times and won the 1967 NBA title before being traded again to the Lakers in 1968.
The Diesel was traded multiple times, but no trade was bigger than the 2004 deal that sent him from the Lakers to the Heat. By that time, he had already helped Los Angeles win three in a row and was still a perennial all-star.
Miami sent Caron Butler, Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, and two draft picks to the Lakers, but Miami got the better of it. Shaq was still good enough to team up with Dwayne Wade in 2006 to lead the Heat to their first NBA title in franchise history.