5 most successful NBA trade deadline deals in the 21st century 

Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol's trade to the LA Lakers in 2008 is regarded as one of the most successful deals ever/
Arhaan Raje
Modified 29 Mar 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

The NBA trade deadline is one of the busiest days on the NBA calendar. as teams, players, analysts and fans are on the edge of their seats to see if their favorite players and teams pair up.

This year's deadline day was quite spectacular to watch, with as many as 23 teams involved in various transactions to either downgrade massively or upgrade into serious contenders.

The likes of Victor Oladipo (Rockets to Heat), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando to Bulls), and Aaron Gordon (Orlando to Nuggets) headlined this year's NBA trade deadline day.

Except for the Gordon trade, the others were quite surprising ones that have piqued the interest of fans as the postseason approaches. These moves have also potentially bolstered the concerned teams' season objectives.

On that note, let's take a look at the five best NBA trade deadline deals this century.

Five best NBA trade deadline deals in the 21st century

Trade deadline deals can be crucial to a team's championship or playoff hopes, thus making them one of the most important days on the calendar for every team's front office.

The 21st century has seen some blockbuster transactions. On that note, let's have a look at five of the best of them:

#5 Damian Lillard to Portland Trail Blazers (2012)

Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard

An NBA trade deadline day deal between the Brooklyn Nets and the Portland Trail Blazers saw the Blazers acquire 2012's top-three-protected first-round picks in exchange for forward Gerald Wallace.

Damian Lillard happened to be one of those picks, which looks like an absolute bargain now, considering how great he has been for the Blazers ver since he made his NBA debut for them.

He won the Rookie of the Year award that season and followed that up with six All-Star game selections to date. His loyalty to his franchise is also something worth taking note of, as he continues to lead them despite their overall struggles.

Lillard has now led the Blazers to the NBA playoffs for seven straight seasons, averaging 20 points or more in each of these campaigns.

#4 Dikembe Mutombo to Philadelphia 76ers (2001)

Dikembe Mutombo
Dikembe Mutombo

The Philadelphia 76ers added Dikembe Mutombo to their roster in exchange for the injured center Theo Ratliff and three other players on the NBA trade deadline 2001 on February 22, 2001.

Mutombo's addition helped the 76ers reach the finals that year, which they eventually lost to the LA Lakers.


However, he won his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award that year and was crucial in handing the LA Lakers their only loss of the postseason, as he reduced the threat of Shaquille O'Neal massively to prevent the Lakers from making history.

#3 Rasheed Wallace to Detroit Pistons (2004)

Rasheed Wallace
Rasheed Wallace

The Detroit Pistons acquired Rasheed Wallace as a part of a three-team deal on the NBA trade deadline day of February 19, 2004.

Wallace's addition propelled the Pistons to their third NBA championship that very season. He was the missing piece in their arsenal, and it would have been very unlikely for the team to win the championship that year without Wallace's services.

Wallace's defensive prowess helped the Pistons take care of the mighty LA Lakers, who at that time were the overwhelming favorites to win the title. His 26-point performance in game four was one of the biggest highlights in that season's NBA Finals.


#2 Marc Gasol to Toronto Raptors (2019)

Marc Gasol (#33) of the Toronto Raptors celebrates the 2019 Larry O
Marc Gasol (#33) of the Toronto Raptors celebrates the 2019 Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy

The Toronto Raptors acquired veteran big Marc Gasol on the 2019 NBA trade deadline day, which eventually turned out one of the best trade deadline day moves in the history of the NBA. That's because his addition propelled the Raptors to their first and only NBA championship win to date.

This was probably one of the rarest NBA trade deadline day deals that helped a title-contending team go all the way that same season.

Gasol was instrumental in helping the Raptors at both ends of the floor. Even when he wasn't firing at one end, he made sure he didn't let the team down at the other. His playmaking abilities, occasional shooting bursts and high-defensive IQ helped take the pressure of key players like Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry.


#1 Pau Gasol to LA Lakers (2008)

Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol

The Pau Gasol trade deal wasn't exactly on the NBA trade deadline day. But the impact of this move by the LA Lakers lasted for a very long time, as it helped them win their second NBA title of the decade.

Thus, it might not fit the narrative of a trade deadline day deal, but it is definitely one of the most successful trades to take place in the 21st century.

The addition of Gasol helped the Lakers to three consecutive Finals appearances. The first appearance didn't see the Purple and Gold land the championship, but Gasol, along with Kobe Bryant, made sure they won the next two on the trot to mark one of the most remarkable eras in the franchise history.

Other notable trade deadline deals that took place in the 21st century:

Kyrie Irving to Cleveland Cavaliers (2011), Isiah Thomas to Boston Celtics (2015), Andre Bogut to Golden State Warriors (2012).

Published 29 Mar 2021, 01:29 IST
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