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NBA History: 5 Trades that changed the NBA forever

Davion Moore
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

Kobe Bryant played with the Lakers his whole career but was not drafted by them
Kobe Bryant played with the Lakers his whole career but was not drafted by them

In the NBA, trades play a significant part in a team's success or failure. Besides free agency, trades can help a franchise go from being an average team to a contending team in a matter of months. This summer is a great example.

Throughout the summer, there have been teams who acquired star-caliber players through trades. The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Lakers gave up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and draft picks to get Davis. It was arguably a win-win situation for both teams.

The trade makes an impact on the Lakers as they gained another star to pair alongside LeBron James. The Lakers have a chance to go from a team that just missed the playoffs to a potential champion. So, this trade impacts the NBA as it approaches its next season.

This offseason featured other significant trades, as those teams are striving to compete. The Los Angeles Clippers received Paul George in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The move happened shortly after the Clippers gained Kawhi Leonard through free agency. Their agreement led to a deal with Oklahoma City, as the Clippers received a player to pair with Leonard. Now, both the Clippers and Lakers will fight to become the best team in the West. But, we cannot count out the Rockets. The Rockets also made moves as they acquired Russell Westbrook from the Thunder. They gave up their guard Chris Paul for another guard in Westbrook.

Each of these trades shook up the league in their own right. However, other deals have changed the league as well. Kevin Garnett getting traded to the Celtics is a good example of that. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for several players. Garnett became a part of the Celtics "Big 3" along with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, as the trio won their first championship

This and other trades changed the league and left a lasting impact. While fans may not remember these trades, they remember their impact. Here are five trades that changed the NBA forever.


#5 The San Antonio Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard in exchange for DeMar DeRozan

Leonard won a championship with the Raptors
Leonard won a championship with the Raptors

This trade is the most recent trade on this list. It occurred last summer and easily changed the NBA forever. It all started with Kawhi Leonard.

Last summer, the San Antonio Spurs traded forward Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick. Leonard's Spurs teammate Danny Green also went to Toronto in this deal.

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This trade came as a shock as Leonard's name was tied to teams such as the Clippers or Lakers. The Spurs sent him to Toronto, where he did something amazing. He won a championship.

In the regular season, Leonard averaged a career-high in both points and rebounds with 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. He played in 60 games as the Raptors became the second seed of the Eastern Conference.

In the playoffs, the Raptors beat the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Milwaukee Bucks to reach the Finals. They battled the Golden State Warriors and beat them as they won their first championship in franchise history.

Kawhi Leonard was excellent in the playoffs and helped the Raptors accomplish this feat. He stepped up when his team needed him. His performance helped the Raptors do the unexpected. Now, the Raptors are officially championships.

While Leonard will be with another team this season, what he did in Toronto was impressive. In one season, he took a playoff-bound team (that struggled to advance past the second round/Conference Finals) and led them to a championship. If that's not impacting the NBA, I don't know what is.

The Raptors/Spurs deal made an impact on the league and will forever be remembered.

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