Cohen: Interesting Draft-Day Swaps & Trades
May 2, 2013
Josh Cohen’s Analysis: After an unforgettable draft lottery shocker in 1993, in which the Magic secured the No.1 pick with a 1.5 percent chance, Orlando chose Chris Webber before trading him to Golden State for Penny Hardaway, the No. 3 pick, and three future first round draft picks. Orlando ascended immediately with Penny, advancing to the NBA Finals in 1995. Crushing injury problems derailed Hardaway’s career by the time he left the Magic, while Webber finally lived up to his potential once he joined the Kings in the late 90’s.
Cohen’s Analysis: Mostly known for his contributions in Detroit and San Antonio at the end of his career, Antonio McDyess was actually once a high-flying, power-dunking freak of nature. That description was displayed in Denver, which acquired McDyess, the No. 2 pick, in 1995 from the Clippers for Rodney Rogers and Brent Barry. Unfortunately a Patellar tendon rupture in 2001 spoiled his budding status.
Cohen’s Analysis: There was a time when it was assessed as an “even” trade. In 1996, Minnesota traded Ray Allen, the No. 5 pick, along with Andrew Lang to Milwaukee for Stephon Marbury, selected fourth. Though Marbury became a household name during his NBA career, it was his disruptive personality that is remembered most. Allen, on the other hand, is still going strong with all sorts of accolades to back it up.
Cohen’s Analysis: Some still believe it is the most lopsided trade in NBA history. However, it’s not the fault of the Hornets, who selected Kobe Bryant 13th overall in 1996 before trading him immediately to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. Kobe refused to play in Charlotte and forced his way out. L.A. became his home instead. And five NBA titles later, it’s fair to say this trade worked out for the Lakers.
Cohen’s Analysis: If Vince Carter’s tenure in Toronto didn’t end so disruptively, we would probably find the draft-day swap of VC for AJ in 1998 amusing for reasons related to performance rather than background. Carter and Jamison were teammates at UNC, amusing in of itself. And while Antawn eventually found his stride in the NBA, Vince almost instantly became one of the most electrifying players in league history.
Cohen’s Analysis: Milwaukee is still shaking its head in disgust. In 1998, the Bucks traded Dirk Nowitzki (pick No. 9) and Pat Garrity (pick No. 19) to the Mavericks for Robert Traylor (pick No. 6). No need to assess this outcome. However, what’s most fascinating and forgotten is that Dallas turned Garrity into the acquisition of Steve Nash.
Cohen’s Analysis: Regardless of whether you live in Vancouver or Memphis, you are probably still elated that Steve Francis wanted no part of your NBA franchise. Francis, the No. 2 pick in the 1999 draft, refused to play in Vancouver and was eventually traded to Houston as part of a mega blockbuster trade later that summer.
Cohen’s Analysis: In all fairness to Chris Mihm, he did win an NBA championship with the Lakers in 2009. But let’s be honest, Mihm is just another all-time big man bust. Fortunately for Chicago, it brushed him off to Cleveland on draft night in 2000. The Bulls instead landed Jamal Crawford in the swap.
Cohen’s Analysis: The Hawks drafted Pau Gasol in 2001 before they sent him to the Grizzlies in a deal that involved Shareef Abdur-Rahim. While Reef had a spectacular first season in Atlanta, in which he was named an NBA All-Star, Gasol’s success in Memphis and L.A. must still frustrate the Hawks.
Cohen’s Analysis: For some reason, the Suns have a tendency to trade their draft picks and every time they do, the player chosen becomes a solid pro. Take Luol Deng, for example, who was selected by Phoenix in 2004 with the seventh pick before he was dealt to Chicago for a future first round pick and Jackson Vroman. That future pick became Nate Robinson a year later, who the Suns also traded to the Knicks.
Cohen’s Analysis: Deron Williams was chosen by the Jazz. But just hours before the draft, Utah acquired the No. 3 pick from Portland for the No. 6 and 27 picks and a future first rounder. The Blazers got Martell Webster, traded Linas Kleiza and a year later took Joel Freeland. You see, it wasn’t just injuries that derailed the Blazers from rising in the West.
Cohen’s Analysis: Okay okay, the Blazers have made some terrific decisions. A year later, they made the Bulls look irrational when they landed LaMarcus Aldridge, the No. 2 pick in 2006, for Tyrus Thomas, selected fourth, and Viktor Khryapa. But Chicago rebuffs and says no need for insult, the Thomas pick was actually supposed to be New York’s selection. The Knicks handed the Bulls that pick as part of the infamous Eddy Curry trade.
Cohen’s Analysis: Portland was clearly the big winner of the 2006 NBA Draft. After acquiring Aldridge from Chicago, it then agreed to a deal with Minnesota to swap Randy Foye for Brandon Roy. Before the knee injury, Roy had evolved into one of the best players in the league. It’s ironic that the Timberwolves traded him at the wrong time and then signed him at an even worse time before this past season.
Cohen’s Analysis: Who knew Rajon Rondo would go on to become one of the best players of his generation? Perhaps the Celtics did, but like most, the Suns certainly couldn’t forecast this one. Phoenix traded Rondo’s draft rights in 2006 to Boston for Brian Grant and a future first round pick. The next year, the Suns used that pick to take Rudy Fernandez before also trading him to the Blazers.
Cohen’s Analysis: We know Ray Allen is no stranger to trades on draft night. He became one of the big storylines of the 2007 NBA Draft when he was sent to Boston as part of a package that involved the No. 5 pick Jeff Green. It’s just ironic that Green eventually wore green anyway when the Celtics acquired him back from the Thunder a few years later.
Cohen’s Analysis: Fortunately for the Grizzlies, they don’t need to regret this decision too much since Zach Randolph has transformed into one of the league’s elite power forwards. In 2008, Memphis traded Kevin Love’s draft rights to Minnesota as part of a blockbuster trade that involved OJ Mayo. Some other names that were a part of this deal were Mike Miller, Antoine Walker and Jason Collins.
Cohen’s Analysis: At the time, the focus of this mega trade in 2008 was Jermaine O’Neal, who was sent from Indiana to Toronto to partner up with Chris Bosh. As we later realized, the key to the trade was Roy Hibbert, who was included in the deal. Now while the Raptors continue in their rebuild, the Pacers and their stifling defense are contending for a title.
Cohen’s Analysis: Shortly before the 2009 NBA Draft, the Timberwolves acquired the Wizards’ No. 5 pick as part of a multi-player deal. While all the other players involved in the trade became irrelevant, Ricky Rubio, Minnesota’s choice with that draft pick, proved to be the darling of the trade.
Cohen’s Analysis: It’s amusing how this all works. So, in the same draft that connected Minnesota with Rubio, Ty Lawson was also associated with the Wolves. Minnesota drafted three point guards in the First Round, Rubio, Jonny Flynn and Lawson, who was eventually dealt to Denver for a future first round pick.
Cohen’s Analysis: San Antonio really knows how to pick out the talent. In 2011, it acquired Kawhi Leonard’s draft rights from Indiana for George Hill. While the Pacers are happy with Hill as their starting point guard, Leonard has helped the Spurs remain one of the premier teams in the league.