Ten Most Impactful NBA Trades since 2010 (10-6)


Image via The Score

Stanley Shivley, Writer

This article is part one of two. Trades #10-#6 will be listed in this article, while #5-#1 will be listed in part two, releasing the next edition.

Honorable Mentions:

Mavericks Receive: No. 3 Pick (Luka Doncic)

Hawks Receive: No. 5 Pick (Trae Young), 2019 Protected First Round Pick (Cam Reddish)

76ers Receive: No. 1 Pick (Markelle Fultz)

Celtics Receive: No. 3 Pick (Jayson Tatum), Sacramento’s 2019 First Round Pick (Romeo Langford)

Cavaliers Receive: 2011 First Round Pick (Kyrie Irving), Baron Davis

Clippers Receive: Jamario Moon, Mo Williams

Knicks Receive: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams, Corey Brewer, Denver’s 2016 First Round Pick (Jakob Poeltl) (Traded to Toronto)

Nuggets Receive Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos, NY’s 2012 Second Round Pick (Quincy Miller), NY’s 2013 Second Round Pick (Romero Osby) (Traded to Orlando), NY’s 2014 First Round Pick (Dario Saric) (Traded to Orlando), NY’s 2016 First Round Pick (Jamal Murray), 

Timberwolves Receive Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, Denver’s 2015 2nd Round Pick (Richaun Holmes) (Traded to Philadelphia)

#10: Clippers land Paul George at the cost of the future (2019)

Clippers Receive: Paul George

Thunder Receive: Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Miami’s 2021

First Round Pick (Tre Mann), 2022 First Round Pick, 2023 First Round Pick (Right to Swap), Miami’s 2023 Protected First Round Pick, 2024 First Round Pick, 2025 First Round Pick, 2026 First Round Pick (Right to Swap)

While this trade is pretty recent, and not a lot has happened since, just by the sheer amount of picks traded (Eight in total), it is clear that down the road, this will amount to something huge on OKC’s part. The Thunder currently have 24 First-round draft picks leading up to 2029. With both Leonard and Paul aging, I think this could very well be in the top three most impactful trades by the end of the decade. To keep it short, George requested a trade from OKC after failing to make it past the first round for the second year in a row, and in return, received a king’s ransom, including eight picks and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Shai has proven himself to be one of the most impressive young players in the league, and with the core, Oklahoma City can build with these picks, they will undoubtedly be a top team in the western conference in the years to come.

#9: Jimmy Butler traded to T-Wolves for young pieces (2017)

Timberwolves Receive: Jimmy Butler, Justin Patton

Bulls Receive Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Draft rights to Lauri Markkanen.

Following the end of the Derrick Rose era and the Failure of the Dwyane Wade experiment, The Chicago Bulls began a rebuild in the Summer of 2017. This rebuild was kickstarted by trading away the franchise’s golden calf, Jimmy Butler. The Bulls couldn’t afford to extend Butler’s contract any longer and traded him on Draft Night to the Minnesota Timberwolves for young pieces Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the rights to the #7 Pick in the Draft, Lauri Markkanen. This trade ended up blowing up in Minnesota’s face, as Butler had a feud with the entire Wolves organization and left the following season. LaVine and Markkanen blossomed into stars in Chicago, and while they still have yet to make it to the playoffs since the trade, the future is looking bright in Chicago. This trade amounted to, as referenced earlier, Butler requesting a trade to the 76ers the next season and then getting traded to the Miami Heat in the 2019 Offseason, where he led the team to a 2020 NBA Finals appearance.

#8: Trail Blazers trade Gerald Wallace to The Nets for Damian Lillard (2012)

Trail Blazers Receive: 2012 Protected First Round Pick (Damian Lillard), Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams

Nets Receive: Gerald Wallace

Following the early retirement of Brandon Roy, the Trail Blazers went into a pseudo-rebuild. At the 2012 Deadline, the team traded Gerald Wallace to the New Jersey Nets for Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams, and a 2012 Top-3 Protected First Round Pick. While Wallace was still a good player, injuries turned him into a shell of what he was on the Bobcats. Okur and Williams never played for Portland, and shortly after the trade, the Blazers selected Weber State point guard Damian Lillard with the pick they received from the Nets. Lillard won unanimous rookie of the year, broke several franchise records, and became one of the best point guards in the NBA and arguably The Greatest Portland Trail Blazer of All Time. Down the road, this trade would also amount to Wallace being included in the Kevin Garnett to the Nets deal, a trade I will talk about later in this list.

#7: Cavs trade #1 Pick Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love (2014)

Cavaliers Receive: Kevin Love

Timberwolves Receive: Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young

76ers Receive: Cleveland’s 2016 First Round Pick (Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot), Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved

In 2014, LeBron James announced that he would be returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, after spending four seasons with the Heat. This move shifted the Cavs from rebuilding to win-now. This signing came weeks after Cleveland selected Kansas SF Andrew Wiggins with the first pick in the NBA Draft. Due to the potential issues, Cleveland traded Wiggins and 2013 First Overall Pick Anthony Bennett to the Timberwolves for All-NBA Power Forward Kevin Love. Love would assist James and Kyrie Irving win the 2016 NBA Championship and capturing four straight eastern conference titles. Wiggins did well in Minnesota; however far underperformed expectations. Wiggins stayed in Minnesota as the second option behind Karl-Anthony Towns until being traded to the Warriors for D’Angelo Russell in 2020. Wiggins was named to his first all-star team in 2022, as he assisted Golden State to a Western Conference Finals Appearance. In the Wiggins deal, Golden State also received the draft pick that became Jonathan Kuminga from the Timberwolves.

#6: Raptors trade DeRozan for NBA Championship (2018)

Spurs Receive: DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, 2019 Protected First Round Pick (Keldon Johnson)

Raptors Receive: Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green

Following the end of the Spurs dynasty, an injury-riddled 2017-18 Season, and tension between his camp and the Spurs organization, former Finals MVP and Defensive Player of The Year, Kawhi Leonard, requested a trade out of San Antonio. In July 2018, The Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Star DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 First Round Draft Pick. This deal was a surprise and initially met with some criticism from Raptors fans, as DeRozan was a fan favorite, The Raptors’ all-time leader in points, and was told by management days before that the team planned on keeping him. It was also controversial because it was believed Leonard, who was on the last year of his contract, would leave the Raptors in the following offseason. Toronto ended up winning the trade, as less than a year later, the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 Finals, capturing the team’s first title in franchise history. The trade was also a catalyst in the Raptors swapping long-time center Jonas Valanciunas for Grizzlies legend Marc Gasol at the 2019 trade deadline. Kawhi Leonard left Toronto after winning Finals MVP to team up with Paul George on the Clippers. Danny Green also left the Raptors for the bright lights of LA in the 2019 off-season, with the Lakers instead, where he was a part of their 2020 Finals run core. DeRozan was good, however, a shell of himself while in San Antonio before being traded to the Bulls for multiple picks in 2021, where he just had one of the best years of his career.