In the NBA, trades are one of the most exciting aspects of the league. It’s a way for teams to acquire new talent and improve their chances of winning a championship. However, there is a lot that goes into a trade, and it can be a complicated process to understand. In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about NBA trades.
What is an NBA Trade?
A trade is a transaction between two NBA teams in which players, draft picks, and/or other assets are exchanged. The goal of a trade is for both teams to benefit in some way, whether it’s by improving their roster, shedding salary, or acquiring future draft picks.
Why Do NBA Teams Make Trades?
There are many reasons why a team might make a trade. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Improving the team’s overall talent level
- Addressing a specific need, such as adding a three-point shooter or a defensive specialist
- Shedding salary in order to free up cap space for future signings
- Acquiring draft picks to build for the future
- Getting rid of a player who is not living up to expectations or is causing chemistry issues in the locker room
Who Can Be Traded in the NBA?
In the NBA, any player can be traded at any time, with a few exceptions. First, players who have a no-trade clause in their contract can veto any trade that involves them. Second, players who were signed as free agents in the offseason cannot be traded until December 15 of that year. This rule is in place to prevent teams from signing a player and immediately flipping them for assets.
How Do NBA Trades Work?
Trades in the NBA are typically structured as a series of one-for-one or multi-player deals, with draft picks and other assets sometimes included. When two teams agree to a trade, they must submit the details to the league office for approval. The league office reviews the trade to make sure it conforms to NBA rules and regulations, such as salary cap restrictions and trade deadline rules.
Once a trade is approved, the teams involved must notify the players who are being traded. If a player has a no-trade clause in their contract, they have the right to veto the trade. If a player is traded, they must report to their new team and pass a physical examination before they can play in any games.
When Can NBA Trades Happen?
Trades can happen at any time during the NBA season, with a few exceptions. First, there is a trade deadline each season, which typically falls in February. After the trade deadline, teams can no longer make trades until the offseason. Second, there are certain blackout periods during the season when trades are not allowed. These include the period leading up to the NBA draft and the period immediately following the end of the season.
What are the Rules Around Salary in NBA Trades?
One of the most complicated aspects of NBA trades is salary matching. In order for a trade to be approved, the salaries of the players involved must be within a certain range. This is known as the salary cap, and it is set each season by the league.
If a team is over the salary cap, they must use one of several exceptions to make a trade. These exceptions include the mid-level exception, the bi-annual exception, and the trade exception. Each exception allows a team to make a trade without having to worry about matching salaries exactly.
What are Draft Picks?
Draft picks are one of the most valuable assets in the NBA. Each year, the league holds a draft in which teams select players who are entering the league for the first time. The order of the draft is determined by the previous season’s standings, with the worst teams getting the highest picks.
Teams can trade their draft picks to other teams, either as part of a larger trade or on their own. Future draft
What are Famous NBA Trades?
There have been many famous NBA trades throughout the history of the league. Here are some of the most notable ones:
- Kobe Bryant to the Lakers: In 1996, the Charlotte Hornets drafted Kobe Bryant with the 13th pick in the draft. However, they immediately traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. This trade turned out to be one of the most lopsided in NBA history, as Bryant went on to become one of the greatest players of all time and won five championships with the Lakers.
- Kevin Garnett to the Celtics: In 2007, the Boston Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett, sending five players and two draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange. The trade immediately paid off for the Celtics, as they won the championship in Garnett’s first season with the team.
- James Harden to the Rockets: In 2012, the Houston Rockets traded for James Harden, sending Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The trade turned out to be a steal for the Rockets, as Harden became one of the best players in the league and led the team to multiple deep playoff runs.
- Wilt Chamberlain to the Lakers: In 1968, the Philadelphia 76ers traded Wilt Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers for three players and a draft pick. Chamberlain went on to win a championship with the Lakers and solidified his place as one of the greatest players of all time.
- Shaquille O’Neal to the Lakers: In 1996, the Orlando Magic traded Shaquille O’Neal to the Los Angeles Lakers for three players and a draft pick. O’Neal teamed up with Kobe Bryant to form one of the most dominant duos in NBA history and won three championships with the Lakers.
- Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors: In 2018, the Toronto Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard, sending DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl to the San Antonio Spurs. The trade paid off for the Raptors, as Leonard led the team to their first-ever championship in his first and only season with the team.
- Charles Barkley to the Rockets: In 1996, the Houston Rockets traded for Charles Barkley, sending four players to the Phoenix Suns in exchange. Barkley teamed up with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler to form a “Big Three” and led the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals in his first season with the team.
These are just a few examples of the many notable NBA trades throughout history. Each trade has its own unique story and impact on the league.
What Were the Worst Trades in NBA History?
There have been several NBA trades that are considered among the worst in the league’s history. Here are a few of the most infamous ones:
- Brooklyn Nets trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce: In 2013, the Brooklyn Nets made a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry in exchange for several players and draft picks. The trade was intended to make the Nets contenders, but it ended up being a disaster. Garnett and Pierce were past their primes, and the Nets gave up several valuable draft picks that ended up being used to select players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum for the Celtics.
- Charlotte Hornets trade Kobe Bryant to the Lakers: As mentioned earlier, the Charlotte Hornets drafted Kobe Bryant in 1996 but immediately traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. This trade has been widely criticized over the years, as Bryant went on to become one of the greatest players of all time and the Hornets missed out on a franchise-altering talent.
- Portland Trail Blazers trade for Sam Bowie: In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers had the second pick in the NBA draft and selected center Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. Bowie was considered a highly-touted prospect, but he was plagued by injuries throughout his career and never lived up to his potential. Meanwhile, Jordan became one of the greatest players in NBA history and led the Chicago Bulls to six championships.
- New York Knicks trade for Andrea Bargnani: In 2013, the New York Knicks traded for Andrea Bargnani, giving up several players and draft picks to acquire the former No. 1 pick. Bargnani was a disappointment in New York, averaging just 8.3 points per game and struggling with injuries. The trade set the Knicks back and was considered a major misstep by the front office.
- Cleveland Cavaliers trade for Andrew Wiggins: In 2014, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. However, they immediately traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love. Wiggins showed promise in Minnesota, but he never became the star that many had predicted. Meanwhile, Love struggled with injuries and inconsistency in Cleveland and the Cavaliers missed out on the opportunity to build around Wiggins and a young Kyrie Irving.
These trades are just a few examples of the many mistakes that NBA teams have made over the years. While some of these trades may have seemed like good ideas at the time, hindsight has shown that they were disastrous for the teams involved.
In conclusion, NBA trades have always been a fascinating and integral part of the league’s history. Every trade has the potential to alter the landscape of the league, and each team’s success can hinge on the players they acquire or trade away. From blockbuster trades that change the fortunes of entire franchises to smaller deals that help teams fill specific needs, the NBA trade market is always active and exciting.
While some trades turn out to be busts, others can make or break a team’s championship aspirations. The NBA trade deadline is a time when fans and analysts alike eagerly await to see what moves will be made and how they will impact the rest of the season.
Ultimately, successful NBA trades require a combination of shrewd scouting, savvy negotiating, and a bit of luck. As the league continues to evolve and teams search for new ways to gain an edge, it’s clear that the importance of trades in shaping the NBA landscape will only continue to grow in the years to come.