Seven most one-sided NBA trades of all time featuring Kobe and Dirk

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the center of one of the NBA's most one-sided trades. Photo from Sporting News.

Trading players is one of the key moves a team can make. However, this move could potentially make or break a team in the next couple of seasons. Some of the worst NBA trades include trading a potential star player for a nobody.

Worst NBA trades ever

There are countless trade robberies throughout NBA history. Some teams enriched the other team with little to nothing in return.

Now, let’s take a look at the seven most one-sided NBA trades of all time.

Hornets trade Bryant to the Lakers for Divac

Who could’ve thought that a high schooler from Lower Merion will become one of the greatest players of all time?

In 1996, the Hornets decided to trade Kobe Bryant because he was not in their plans moving forward. They got Vlade Divac in exchange.

At first, this was a good trade for the Hornets since Divac was a solid center. However, Divac only lasted two seasons in Charlotte. Meanwhile, Bryant helped the Lakers win five championships.

Bucks trade Kareem to the Lakers for Bridgeman and Waters

In 1975, the Bucks traded Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley to the Lakers for Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Myers, and Junior Bridgeman.


Winters and Bridgeman were solid players in Milwaukee. Kareem also helped the Bucks win one championship in 1971.

However, it’s nothing compared to Kareem’s five rings with the Lakers.

Sonics trade Pippen to the Bulls for Polynice

This is one of the most one-sided NBA trades ever.

In 1987, the Sonics traded Scottie Pippen and a first-round pick to the Bulls for Olden Polynice and two future picks.

Acquiring Pippen was pivotal for the Bulls in building their dynasty in the 90s.

Polynice lasted 17 seasons and was serviceable as a big man but it’s nothing compared to Pippen who won six championships for Chicago alongside Michael Jordan.

Sixers traded Barkley to the Suns for Hornacek

In 1992, the Sixers traded Charles Barkley to the Suns for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry.

What a robbery.

Barkley was averaging 23.3 points and 11.6 rebounds in his entire stint with Philly.

In exchange, the Sixers got Hornacek (who lasted for two seasons with them) and some bench players. Meanwhile, Barkley helped Phoenix reach the NBA Finals in 1993 against Chicago.

Bucks trade Nowitzki to the Mavericks for Traylor

Another bad move by Milwaukee. In 1998, the Bucks traded Dirk Nowitzki and Pat Garrity to the Mavericks for Robert Traylor.

Compared to Dirk’s skinny body, Traylor had an NBA-ready body back then with his humungous frame.

The Bucks simply wanted a solid center who can bang bodies in the paint. However, that’s a terrible return for the greatest shooting big man of all time.

Dirk also won the 2011 NBA championship. This robbery is one of the worst NBA trades of all time.

Sixers trade Chamberlain to the Lakers for Clark and cash

In 1968, the Sixers traded Wilt Chamberlain for Archie Clark, Jerry Chambers, Darrall Imhoff, and an undisclosed amount of cash.

This is the first time that a reigning MVP was shipped out the next season.

It’s mind-boggling that Philadelphia traded the most dominant big man in his era for Clark, some bench players, and cash. They could’ve added another championship with him. Wilt then helped the Lakers win a title in 1972.

Celtics trade Garnett and Pierce to the Nets for three future first-rounders

In 2013, the Celtics traded Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Tornike Shengelia, Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans, three future unprotected first-round picks, and a pick swap.

What a massive haul.

Imagine sending your future and some serviceable role players for an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. It’s simply insane.

Since the trade, the Nets only got far as the second round of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Celtics built their young core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They also flipped one of their picks to get Kyrie Irving in 2017. This is one of the worst NBA trades ever.

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About Jeremy Mallari 44 Articles
Jeremy lives and breathes basketball. He's an avid NBA fan for almost a decade now.

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