5 Biggest Superstar swaps in the NBA since 2000
Superstars are an essential ingredient for teams to have any kind of sustained success in the NBA. They are hard to come by, and a large number of superstars end up spending most of their careers with the franchise that drafted them - mostly due to the relative ease with which a franchise can cater to its star player's demands.
In some cases, however, disagreements happen due to ego clashes, personality mismatches and a difference of opinion. They might also be precipitated more likely due to off-court issues than any that stem on it.
Any divorce between a franchise and its centerpiece is bound to be a messy one, as proved by the Kawhi Leonard saga that has loomed large over the league for much of the past season. Here, we take a look at the Kawhi-DeRozan swap, among a couple of other trades which involved exchanges of All-Star caliber players between 2 franchises:
#5 Gary Payton and Ray Allen
This one has to hurt a lot for Bucks fans. Coach George Karl and franchise player and 3-time All Star Ray Allen had had some disagreements over the course of the 2001-02 season, one in which the Bucks failed to make the playoffs despite finishing with a 41-41 record. Allen stayed on at the start of the season, but was dealt at the trade deadline in exchange for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason, with Ronald Murray and Kevin Ollie accompanying him to the Sonics.
Payton was 34 at the time and played just 28 games in 2003 before signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Allen, meanwhile, took a big step forward in Seattle, having already led the Bucks to a Conference Finals series in 2001.
Allen's best years were spent as a Sonic in the Western Conference. He averaged 24.6 points, 4.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals for Seattle, before engineering a move to the Boston Celtics in pursuit of a championship with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.