The jury is still out on the DeMarcus Cousins trade to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Bayou Birds were looking to put themselves in contention in the tough Western Conference by swinging a deal with Sacramento before the trade deadline.
They acquired the big man and bench depth player Omri Casspi from the Kings for a package that included 2016 first round pick (6th overall) Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a 2017 first round pick and a 2017 second-round pick.
In the end, the Pelicans missed the playoffs anyway and the Kings have a lot of guesswork.
We could judge them “winners” of the deal, based on the fact they have their own pick at 5th in the upcoming draft and then the Pelicans’ pick at no. 10. Sacramento also has a pick at no. 34. Those players won’t swing the trade one way or the other for a while.
We’ll call that one a wash, for now.
But, there have been many trades in the last 20 years that have backfired badly for the “losers” in the swaps involving young guys and “futures.”
Here are 15, in order of overall ghastliness.
15. Baron Davis Gets Traded Twice
It’s pretty bad — for two teams at least — that they got rid of solid point guard Baron Davis. He might as well have been nicknamed “Suitcase” for the number of different jerseys he wore over 13 seasons, five to be exact. In 2005, the New Orleans Hornets were the first team to send Davis away, in return for Golden State’s Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis. The defensively adept and offensively gifted Baron was solid for three and half seasons in the Bay Area. As for Claxton and Dale Davis, well, Claxton was not near as good as Baron and was out of basketball by 2008 and Dale Davis never played a game with New Orleans. Baron Davis was playing with the L.A. Clippers in 2011 when they shipped him and a 2011 first round pick off to Cleveland for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. The Clips figured they had won, shedding themselves of Davis’ contract, but that first round pick turned into Kyrie Irving. Ouch.
14. Knicks Trade Jamal Crawford To Golden State – 2008
Big Apple area teams have had a penchant for making idiotic deals over the last 20 or so years. One that flew under the radar a little was the New York Knicks 2008 trade they made with the Golden State Warriors that saw Knicks’ guard Jamal Crawford go to the Dubs for swingman Al Harrington. Crawford, who can play either point or shooting guard, is still performing at a high level as one of the best sixth men in the NBA, after a brief period with the Warriors. Harrington, who made the Knicks look good at first, slowly declined after parts of two seasons in New York and after playing with three different teams in four season was out of basketball for good in 2014.
13. Boston Deals Joe Johnson To Phoenix – 2002
In 2002, the Boston Celtics didn’t quite know what they had in SG/SF Joe Johnson. They drafted him 10th overall out of Arkansas and used him sparingly in 48 games during the 2001-02 season. Instead of grooming him to maturity, the playoff bound Celtics pulled the trigger on a trade to “win now.” Boston packaged him up with Randy Brown, Milt Palacio and a first round pick to Phoenix for veterans Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk. The Celtics, with Rogers and Delk in the line-up, did make it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals, but those two were rentals and were gone soon after. Johnson flourished with the Suns, who also had Steve Nash in the fold. After 29 games with the Suns in 2001-02, he played every game for Phoenix three years running, with his point totals and defensive numbers getting better year over year. As of 2016-17, Johnson was still bringing it as a good bench player in Utah.
12. Knicks Send Penny Hardaway And Trevor Ariza To Orlando For Steve Francis – 2006
We told you that New York area teams have made some questionable — some would say downright dumb — trades that came back to bite them in the rump. In 2006, the Orlando Magic and Knicks were looking to rid themselves of giant contracts. For the Magic, one belonged to problem child Steve Francis (who was on the hook for three years and $49 million) and for the Knicks, Hardaway was making $15.8 million per season at the time. So, New York agreed to send Hardaway and young forward Trevor Ariza to Orlando for Francis. As it turned out, the Magic waived Hardaway and got decent bench play from Ariza, who was still in the NBA this season, starting for the Houston Rockets. Francis, whose game was in decline as of 2005-06, played 68 uninspiring games for New York and was out of the NBA by the 2007-08 season (10 game with Houston).
11. Knicks Trade Zach Randolph To The Clippers For Back-Ups – 2008
Two years after the Penny Hardaway-for-Steve Francis swap, the Knicks, still searching for identity, were at it again. They had C/PF Zach Randolph in the line-up, who they acquired from Portland in 2007 and actually had a front court of note. But, just 11 games into the 2008-09 season, where Randolph was averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, they dealt him to the Los Angeles Clippers for SG Cuttino Mobley and veteran journeyman PF Tim Thomas. Neither capably filled in offensively or defensively in the absence of Randolph, with Thomas playing just 36 games before moving on and Mobley never played a game after it was discovered through a physical that he had a career-ending heart condition. Yet, armed with this knowledge and with an eye to salary considerations, the Knicks made the questionable deal anyway. Randolph didn’t last long in L.A. either, but still scored 20.9 PPG in 39 games for the Clips and remains in the NBA with Memphis.
10. Washington Swaps Chris Webber for Sacramento Veterans – 1998
Chris Webber needed no introduction to the NBA in 1993, having been the lynchpin to Michigan’s “Fab Five” in the early 1990s. Drafted first overall by Orlando that year, he was immediately dealt to Golden State for the aforementioned Penny Hardaway and future first round picks. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 1993-94 and led the Dubs back to the playoffs. But, he feuded with coach Don Nelson, said he wouldn’t play for them again and was traded to Washington. With the Bullets/Wizards, Webber continued his upward trajectory and for four seasons averaged 20.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. The Wiz, though, sent him packing again in 1998 for Sacramento Kings veterans Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Despite his misgivings going to a perennial loser, Webber enjoyed his best seasons in Sacramento, nearly taking the team to the NBA finals in 2002 (they dropped a seven-game heartbreaker to the Lakers). Richmond, a pretty good player at the time of the trade, declined in play and Thorpe was gone again after playing 49 games.
9. Memphis Deals Pau Gasol To The Los Angeles Lakers – 2008
On the face of it, the Memphis Grizzlies seemed to have “won” the February, 2008 trade with the Lakers that netted them Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, Aaron McKie, a 2008 first-round draft pick (Donte Greene), and a 2010 first-round draft pick (Greivis Vasquez), for the price of Pau Gasol and 2010 second round pick (Devin Ebanks). Uh, yah. Gasol, already a star in Memphis, averaged 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Grizz. Once he hit La-la land, though, he kicked it up a notch and became a key piece in three trips to the NBA finals and back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. The player the Grizzlies settled on in the deal instead of the coveted Lamar Odom or Andrew Bynum, Brown, played just 15 games in Memphis. Marc Gasol, drafted in 2009, did turn into a player, but he has yet to help the Grizzlies make any inroads in the playoffs.
8. Milwaukee Swaps Ray Allen For Seattle’s Gary Payton – 2003
In the end, this is a trade involving one Hall of Famer (Payton) for one future Hall of Famer (Allen). But, from a competitive stance, the Seattle SuperSonics swindled SG Allen for a declining point guard in Gary Payton in 2003. The Glove, a nine-time all-star, was 34 in 2003, his best days with the Sonics behind him. Allen was 27, a three time all-star and in his prime when the Bucks decided midway through the 2002-03 campaign to deal him with Ronald Murray, Kevin Ollie and a conditional first round pick for Seattle’s Payton and Desmond Mason. Payton lasted just 28 games with Milwaukee and left in free agency later that year. Allen played his best basketball with the Sonics, averaging a career high 26.4 points in 2006-07 and would go on to win two championships (one with Boston and the other with Miami).
7. Los Angeles Lakers Trade For Dwight Howard – 2012
For eight years, Dwight “Superman” Howard was a force in Orlando, rarely missing a game and leading them to the NBA finals against the Lakers (they lost 4-1) in 2009. Late in his tenure with the Magic, however, Howard chafed at the lack of success with his team and openly lobbied for a trade, as well as asking the team to fire coach Stan Van Gundy. The Los Angeles Lakers, looking to give Kobe Bryant a center of substance, helped grant Howard his wish in August 2012, acquiring him in a deal involving four teams (Orlando, L.A., Philadelphia and Denver). Of the 11 players changing addresses along with Howard, Orlando received Nikola Vucevic and Arron Afflalo, Philly got Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson and Denver welcomed Andre Iguodala. As for Howard, the trade to the Lakers would become known as the “Dwightmare.” He fought openly with Kobe about playing style and effort required to win. Then, in the playoffs, the Lakers were swept by San Antonio, followed by Howard’s departure to Houston. The Lakers have been horrible ever since.
6. New Jersey Nets Acquire Gerald Wallace From Portland – 2012
Again with the New York theme, we bring you the ill-fated trade made by the New Jersey Nets to acquire Gerald Wallace from Portland at the trade deadline 2012. The Nets tried to get Dwight Howard and Paul Pierce, feeling a sense of urgency to add talent around Deron Williams in a bid to convince him to re-sign with the club in the summer. But, they had to settle on a deal with Portland for all-star forward Wallace, in exchange for their top-three protected pick in the 2012 draft, along with Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams. Wallace played just 85 games for New Jersey/Brookly and then was included (spoiler alert) in a massive trade to Boston in 2013. That Nets protected 2012 draft pick that went to Portland turned into all-world guard Damian Lillard. Oh, the horror.
5. Dallas Mavericks Sell The Farm For Rajon Rondo – 2014
Sure seems like the Boston Celtics are the all-time trade swindlers in the NBA. After fleecing the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 in a trade that is still reverberating today and into the future, the Celtics absolutely hornswoggled Dallas in 2014. Having won a title with the Celtics in 2008 and looking for a lucrative contract extension, Rajon Rondo was deemed expendable in December 2014 and was shipped to Dallas for Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, a 2015 first round pick and a 2016 second round pick. Rondo stayed in Big D for the remainder of the season and bolted for Sacramento in the summer of 2015. The Celtics have reaped the rewards of that swap, with Jae Crowder playing a significant role in this year’s playoff run.
4. Steve Nash Goes To The Los Angeles Lakers – 2012
The summer of 2012 saw the Lakers looking for answers to yet another second round ouster in the playoffs and a way to get back to the finals since winning it all in 2010. Steve Nash, the five-time NBA assists leader and two-time MVP, was in a contract year with the Suns, who were looking to deal him. They struck a sign-and-trade swap with the Lakers to send the future Hall of Famer to La-la land that included the Lakers’ 2013 and 2015 first round draft picks, along with their 2013 and 2014 second round picks. Beset by injuries that eventually forced his retirement, Nash played just 65 games in two seasons, while the Lakers were bounced in the first round by San Antonio in Nash’s first season (the year they also acquired Dwight Howard).
3. Phoenix Trades Isaiah Thomas To Boston – 2015
In a complicated three-team trade in February 2015, the Celtics pulled off yet another heist, getting Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix for Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first round draft pick. The deal also included Detroit, who acquired Tayshaun Prince and two more Celtics acquisitions, Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko. The Suns, who were looking to strip down their guard heavy roster, also sent away Goran Dragic that year. Thomas has been a revelation in Beantown. He went from averaging just over 15 points per game in three and a half seasons with Sacramento and Phoenix to a 24.7 point, 6.0 assists per game man in two and a half seasons with Boston. Thornton lasted all of nine games with the Suns before heading to Houston for the 2015-16 campaign.
2. New York Knicks Acquire Andrea Bargnani – 2013
Of all the New York-based team rotten deals in recent memory, this is the second worst. The trade the Knicks made with Toronto reeked of desperation as they sent veterans Marcus Camby, Quinton Richardson and Steve Novak to Toronto for the oft-injured Bargnani. In addition to the three players, Toronto also received the Knicks’ 2016 first round pick and their 2014 and 2017 second round picks. The Knicks would get decent production out of Bargnani (13.9 PPG, 4.9 rebounds) but the soft-as-butter Italian national would play just 71 games before heading to Brooklyn for his last season in 2015. Toronto used that 2016 first round selection on Utah center Jakob Poeltl at ninth overall and he could very well be their center of the future.
1. Brooklyn Swaps Five Players And A Passel Of Picks To Boston For Pierce And Garnett – 2013
Brooklyn may well have doomed themselves to years of futility for what they thought was a great draft day trade with Boston in 2013. As it turns out, it was yet another ill-fated and disastrous deal for a New York area club and the all-time greatest robbery by the Celtics. The Nets got Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston for a playoff run in 2013-14, but they eventually lost in five games to Miami. Since then, one more playoff round and consecutive 60-plus loss seasons. Boston is still laughing all the way to the bank on this deal, as they received younger players Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and Keith Bogan. In addition, Boston also got the Nets 2014, 2016 and 2018 first round draft picks with the option of exchanging first round picks in 2017. So far, the 2014 pick yielded SG James Young (17th overall) and the 2016 selection was used on SF Jaylen Brown (third overall). This year, Boston earned the right to swap with Brooklyn and took their no. 1 overall, who could turn into Markelle Fultz. And, the final dagger is that Boston has Brooklyn’s 2018 first rounder, which will probably be another top 3.