NBA's Biggest In-Season Trades
After months of speculation, the Knicks completed a deal for Anthony a few days before the February 2011 trade deadline. The trade gave New York a second All-Star to pair with Amar'e Stoudemire and provided the Nuggets with draft picks and young players in their attempt to build a new identity in the absence of their longtime franchise cornerstone.
In a stunning move, the Nets acquired Williams from Utah for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and two first-round picks on Feb. 23, 2011. The deal was agreed to the day after the Knicks finalized a trade for Carmelo Anthony, whom the Nets reportedly pursued for months.
Agent Zero's stormy tenure in Washington, D.C., ended on Dec. 18, 2010, when the Wizards shipped the mercurial guard to Orlando for Rashard Lewis. The trade was one of two big deals on the day for the Magic, who also acquired Hedo Turkoglu from the Suns for Vince Carter as part of a six-player swap.
Carter's move from Orlando to Phoenix in December 2010 was not the first time he changed teams in-season. More than a half decade earlier, the high-flying Carter demanded a trade from Toronto, where he started his pro career in 1998. He eventually got his wish, as the Raptors dealt the then-five time All-Star to New Jersey on Dec. 17, 2004, for Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two first-round draft picks.
Kobe Bryant finally got the help he was begging for. The Lakers instantly improved their frontcourt with the 2007-08 midseason addition of Gasol, who averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 476 career games with the Grizzlies. The Lakers gave up Kwame Brown, rookie Javaris Crittenton and two first-round draft picks for the Spaniard, who would go on to help the Lakers win back-to-back titles in '09 and '10.
After spending his first three pro seasons in his native Philadelphia, the Big Dipper and the rest of his Warriors team relocated to San Francisco in 1962. But Chamberlain, the game's most dominating offensive player, returned to Philly on Jan. 15, 1965, as a member of the 76ers (formerly the Syracuse Nationals). In exchange for Chamberlain, the financially strapped Warriors received three players and cash. It's the only time the league's leading scorer has been traded during the season.
Iverson, the first overall pick in 1996 and the former face of the Sixers' franchise, was traded twice late in his career. First, in December 2006, he went to the Nuggets for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two first-round picks. Then, after two first-round playoff exits, and with Iverson in the last year of his deal, Denver sent AI to Detroit for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess one week into the 2008-09 season.
Kidd has been involved in two in-season blockbusters, the first on Dec. 26, 1996, when he was the first of the Three J's (Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jim Jackson) to leave Dallas, going to Phoenix in a six-player deal that netted the Mavericks Michael Finley and Sam Cassell. Twelve years later, Kidd rejoined the title-contending Mavs, who sent up-and-coming point guard Devin Harris, four other players and two first-round picks to New Jersey for the future Hall of Fame point guard.
The Suns pulled off a stunner Feb. 6, 2008, when they acquired Shaq from the Heat for four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion and backup guard Marcus Banks. The move came at a time when Phoenix owned the best record in the West, and appeared poised to make one more postseason run with its core of Marion, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Instead, the run-and-gun Suns rolled the dice that an aging Shaq would pay off in the playoffs when half-court execution becomes even more important. Phoenix would end up losing in the first round.
Requesting a trade following 11 full seasons in Portland, Clyde the Glide got his wish when the Trail Blazers dealt him to his hometown Houston Rockets on Feb. 14, 1995, in a four-player trade. A few months later, Drexler celebrated his only NBA championship.
In February 2004, Wallace was a key element of not one, but two midseason trades. First, the Trail Blazers traded him to Atlanta in a five-player deal on Feb. 9, 2004. After one game, the Hawks turned around and dealt Wallace to Detroit in a three-team, seven-player deal that also involved draft picks. It worked out well for Wallace and the Pistons that year, as they won the NBA title.
"Starbury" has been involved in two midseason deals, the first coming on March 11, 1999, in a three-team, eight-player deal that sent him to New Jersey and also included fellow point guards Sam Cassell and Terrell Brandon. An offseason deal in 2001 sent him to Phoenix, and after 2 1/2 years, the Suns dealt him to Isiah Thomas' Knicks in a multiplayer deal on Jan. 5, 2004.
The Suns acquired KJ, the seventh pick in the 1987 draft, in the middle of his rookie season in a five-player trade that also netted them Mark West and Tyrone Corbin from the Cavaliers. Johnson, who had been stuck behind point guard Mark Price in Cleveland, went on to become a three-time All-Star and the dynamic floor leader of Phoenix's 1993 Finals team. The Cavs, meanwhile, also did well in the trade, obtaining starting forwards Larry Nance and Mike Sanders to play alongside center Brad Daugherty.
The Hornets' 2-29 start to the 2004-05 season put the team into rebuilding mode, with Davis, a two-time All-Star, shipped to Golden State on Feb. 24, 2005, for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis.
The Warriors had already broken up Run TMC (Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin) when they sent Hardaway to Miami on Feb. 22, 1996. The Heat's fortunes were turned around, as the team won its first division crown the following year. Six years later, near the end of his career, Hardaway was part of a seven-player midseason trade between the Mavs and Nuggets.
McAdoo's first three seasons in Buffalo were stellar (30-plus point averages, MVP honors in 1975), but a change in Braves ownership led to his being traded to the Knicks in a three-player deal on Dec. 9, 1976. McAdoo, who played for seven teams in his 13-year career, was involved in two other midseason trades (1979, 1981).
After a free fall turned the Bucks' once-promising 2001-02 season into a major disappointment, team chemistry was destroyed and the makeover began. Allen, a three-time All-Star in Milwaukee and one of the league's finest pure shooters, was traded to Seattle in a five-player deal (also involving Gary Payton) on Feb. 20, 2003.
After 12 full seasons in Seattle in which he emerged as the face of the SuperSonics, Payton was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2002-03 season. Instead of losing him and getting nothing in return, the Sonics dealt him to Milwaukee on Feb. 20, 2003, in the Ray Allen deal. Payton was involved in another midseason deal on Feb. 24, 2005, when the Celtics traded him to Atlanta, which waived him a week later (with the Celtics promptly re-signing him).
Wilkins provided Atlanta with 11 years of Human Highlights, but the Hawks traded their star to the Clippers on Feb. 24, 1995, a public relations disaster that remains a prickly issue with Hawks fans.
Webber won Rookie of the Year honors with the Warriors in 1993-94 ... and within months he was gone. A contract dispute and feud with coach Don Nelson led to a trade in November 1994 in which Golden State sent Webber to Washington for Tom Gugliotta and three first-round picks.
Pushing for a title in 2001 with Allen Iverson at his MVP best, the 76ers obtained defensive ace Mutombo in a six-player deal with Atlanta, which received All-Star Theo Ratliff and Toni Kukoc. Ratliff was an extremely popular and productive player for the Sixers, but Mutombo was rejuvenated by the trade and was an even bigger lane presence than Ratliff. He averaged 13.9 points, 13.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocked shots in the playoffs, spurring Philadelphia into the NBA Finals. where the Sixers lost to Shaq's and Kobe's Lakers.