One of the best ways to build your team in the NBA is through trade. Teams looking to improve their roster stockpile assets and move them in order to get better players for their franchise. The NBA has seen some great trade moves made over the years. But that also means there is a team on the other end that has suffered.
It's impossible to get a pay-off for all moves as an NBA general manager. However, NBA executives sometimes absolutely fail to grasp the quality of the assets they own and move them for virtually nothing. Along those same lines, here are the worst NBA trades of all time:
#5 Milwaukee Bucks trade Dirk Nowitzki to the Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki was picked up at the 1998 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks but they flipped him and Pat Garrity for Robert Traylor. Traylor had a nightmarish 7 years in the NBA who averaged only 4.8 points per game across the 438 games he played.
While Garrity was a role player throughout his career, Dirk Nowitzki, on the other hand, played 21 years in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks and became one of the best power forwards ever. He won one MVP title. He also won the Finals MVP for Dallas' amazing championship win in 2011.
#4 Brooklyn Nets trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce
The Boston Celtics had already won a championship with the big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. Allen had already moved on and in 2013, they knew that the other two members of the core that led them to their 17th NBA Championship in 2008 had become too old to compete and needed to be moved.
In a desperate attempt to compete for the championship, the Nets went all-in for Pierce and Garnett. They are yet to fully recover from that trade. On Draft Day 2013, Boston sent Pierce, Garnett, Jason Terry, and D.J. White to Brooklyn for Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, a 2014 first-round pick (James Young), a 2016 first-round draft pick (Jaylen Brown), a pick swap for the 2017 season, and a 2018 first-rounder.
The trade sent the Nets into years of mediocrity while the Celtics became of the best teams in the East.