NBA Nets add guard in blockbuster deal
James Harden‘s protracted exit from the Houston Rockets has finally happened, with the Brooklyn Nets adding the prolific scorer to their roster in what was a blockbuster trade on Wednesday, but will his move be judged alongside five previous trades that changed NBA history?
It’s very early to determine just how he will fit into Steve Nash‘s plans in Brooklyn, especially with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving‘s future in the sport as a whole.
The expectations of the move are great. Harden has been the best scorer in the league for the past few years and playing alongside creators like Durant and Irving can only improve his production.
NBA history is littered with trades and moves which changed the fortunes of a particular franchise, but some have been so gargantuan that they have influenced the entire history of the league itself.
In 1956, the St Louis Hawks selected Bill Russell, a center out of the University of San Francisco, with the second overall pick in the draft. The Hawks couldn’t afford the contract of the promising talent, and this gave the Boston Celtics the opportunity to sign a player John Wooden described as ‘the best defensive player I have ever seen’.
Money and two players were sent to the Hawks in exchange for Russell, and he would go onto win 11 rings with the Celtics.
In 1975, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar grew tired of life in Milwaukee and he wanted to move to either New York or Los Angeles, two of the biggest markets in the United States.
The Lakers offered two draft picks and two players, and the trade was eventually closed with Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Myers and Junior Bridgeman all going to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks have not won an NBA championship since then, whilst Abdul-Jabbar won five more with the Lakers, including three MVP awards.
Gail Goodrich was part of the legendary Los Angeles Lakers team that won the NBA title in 1972, with the team breaking the record for successive victories at 33.
In 1976 he signed for the New Orleans Jazz as a free agent, but as per the league rules, the Lakers had to be compensated with draft picks.
Los Angeles received one of the first two picks in the 1979 draft, and a coinflip between the Lakers and the Bulls saw the Lakers earn the first overall pick, which they used to draft Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. He would go onto win five titles in the City of Angels.
In the 1987 draft the Seattle Supersonics selected a forward called Scottie Pippen, who had played at the University of Arkansas. The New York Knicks owned the pick initially, but it was moved to the Sonics.
However, the Seattle franchise was in need of a center, which caught the interest of Chicago Bulls general manager, Jerry Krause.
He offered Olden Polynice, a center, in exchange for the newly-drafted Pippen. History was changed as Pippen turned into Michael Jordan‘s greatest partner in Chicago.
Before the 1996 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers reached an agreement to trade Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets in order to reduce their collective salary.
In return, Charlotte gave the Lakers their No.13 pick in the draft, which they had used to select a 17-year-old called Kobe Bryant.
Bryant would go onto become the icon of the modern NBA, just prior to LeBron James’ era, and he won five NBA titles with the Lakers.