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People often say “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”. Well, the destination is the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Let’s take a look at the journey for some important players who have played in this post-season.
All transaction history is courtesy of Basketball Reference. A name in parenthesis specifies the player ultimately drafted with the pick.
If you think Rajon Rondo moves fast on the floor, wait until you hear how fast his draft pick flew around the league.
The chain of events started in August of 2004 when the Lakers sent a 2006 1st round pick (Rondo), Rick Fox, and Gary Payton to the Boston Celtics. In exchange, Boston shipped Chucky Atkins, Jumaine Jones, and Chris Mihm across the country to Los Angeles.
Six months later, the Celtics traded the 2006 1st round pick (Rondo), Payton, Tom Gugliotta, and Michael Stewart to the Hawks for Antoine Walker.
Atlanta held onto Rondo’s pick for six months before sending it with a 2008 1st round pick (Robin Lopez), and Boris Diaw to Phoenix for Joe Johnson. The Suns held onto the pick ten months before they drafted Rondo in the 1st round of the 2006 draft.
On draft night, Phoenix predictably sent Rondo and Brian Grant to Boston for a 2007 1st round pick. The Suns selected Rudy Fernandez in 2007 with the pick from Boston and traded him and James Jones to Portland for cash.
Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, and Dirk Nowitzki.
What do these players have in common? For one, they will undoubtedly make the Hall of Fame. Also, they were dealt soon after they were drafted.
The Charlotte Hornets selected Kobe Bryant with the 13th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft, and two weeks later they traded the precocious teenager to the Lakers straight up for Vlade Divac.
The Lakers played in Charlotte for the fourth game of Bryant’s NBA career, and Bryant scored five points while Divac was shutout. Divac toiled in Charlotte for two seasons before he signed as a free agent with the Sacramento Kings. Obviously, Bryant is working on another three-peat in his 15th year as a Laker.
Also in 1996, the Timberwolves drafted Ray Allen with the 5th pick overall. They quickly traded him and a 1998 first round pick (Rasho Nesterovic) to the Bucks for the 4th overall pick in 1996, Stephon Marbury. Marbury played two and half seasons for Minnesota, and Allen was named an All-Star three times during his Milwaukee stint.
In 1998, Milwaukee was involved in another momentous transaction. The Bucks drafted Dirk Nowitzki with the 9th overall pick, one spot before Boston selected Paul Pierce, and then sent Dirk and Pat Garrity to Dallas for Robert “Tractor” Traylor. Can you imagine Nowitzki and Allen on the same team?
Traylor averaged 4.47 points per game in two seasons with the Bucks. Nowtizki has averaged 23 points per game in 13 seasons as a Dallas denizen.
Everyone knows about the 2008 deal that sent Pau Gasol to Los Angeles. Do you remember the deal that sent him to Vancouver?
In 2001, Atlanta drafted Gasol with the 3rd overall pick (the #1 pick in 2001, Kwame Brown, was later traded for Gasol in 2008). The Hawks then made a move with Vancouver to acquire Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Jamaal Tinsley. All Atlanta had to send north of the border was Brevin Knight, Lorenzen Wright, and one of the best big men in the world, Pau Gasol.
While Josh Smith was in high school, his draft pick was a hot commodity in the NBA. In 2001, the Bucks sent a 2004 1st round draft pick (Smith) and Scott Williams to the Nuggets for Aleksandar Radojevic and Kevin Willis. Willis was later traded the same day to Houston, and Radojevic scored 26 points in his 15 game NBA career.
A year later, the Nuggets shipped Smith’s pick and two other players to Detroit for Rodney White. Finally, the 2004 1st round pick (Smith) moved in a three way trade in 2004. The Pistons sent the pick to Atlanta, and Rasheed Wallace headed to Detroit after he played one game for the Hawks. The Pistons also traded a 2004 1st round pick (Tony Allen) to Boston in the deal.
Jason Collins and Amare Stoudemire
1999 is legendary for parties and trades involving Jason Collins.
In August of 1999, the Suns traded a 2001 1st round pick (Collins), Pat Garrity, Danny Manning and 2002 1st round pick to the Orlando Magic for Anfernee Hardaway. The Magic later sent the 2002 1st round pick back to the Suns, and Phoenix used it to draft Amare Stoudemire. That’s the circle of life.
Later in August of 1999, the Magic traded the 2001 1st round pick (Collins) and a 2002 2nd round pick (Matt Barnes). Orlando received Lee Mayberry, Rodrick Rhodes, Michael Smith and something called Makhtar N’diaye.
In 2000, Collins’ pick was involved in a four team trade that sent NBA legend Patrick Ewing to the Seattle SuperSonics.
Finally, in 2001, Collins was drafted by Houston, and then traded with Richard Jefferson to New Jersey on draft night. Ten years later, Collins is asked to stop the man Patrick Ewing coaches, Dwight Howard.
Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge
The Knicks have superstars now, but a 2005 trade sent away picks eventually used on terrific big men.
On October 4th, the Knicks received Eddy Curry, Antonio Davis and a 2007 1st round pick (Wilson Chandler) from the Bulls. It only cost them Jermaine Jackson, Mike Sweetney, Tim Thomas, a 2007 2nd round pick (Kyrylo Fesenko), a 2009 2nd round pick (Jon Brockman), and 1st round picks in 2006 and 2007. Who did Chicago draft with the 1st round picks? LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah.
Aldridge’s time in Chicago was brief. A draft night deal sent him and a 2007 2nd round pick to Portland in exchange for Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa.
Mike Miller’s draft pick was swapped seven years before he played in the NBA.
On June 30th, 1993, the Warriors traded Anfernee Hardaway, a 1996 1st round pick (Todd Fuller), a 1998 1st round pick (Vince Carter), and a 2000 1st round pick (Miller) to Orlando. The Magic dealt Chris Webber, the man they chose 1st overall the same day, back to Golden State.
Miller was later traded with a 2003 1st round pick (Kendrick Perkins) and additional picks to the Grizzlies for Drew Gooden and Gordan Giricek.
On June 28th 2007, Delonte West, Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, and a 2008 2nd round draft pick were shipped to the Seattle SuperSonics. The SuperSonics sent Ray Allen and Glen Davis to Boston, and the move helped the Celtics win a championship in 2008.
Does anything about the trade seem odd? Green, West, Allen, and Davis are all members of the 2011 edition of the Boston Celtics.
In 1998, Dallas traded a 1999 1st round pick (Marion), Bubba Wells, Martin Muursepp and Pat Garrity to the Suns for Steve Nash. (Pat Garrity was also involved in the Collins/Stoudemire/Hardaway deal, the trade that sent Shawn Kemp to Cleveland, and he was the player Milwaukee sent with Dirk to Dallas).
In 2008, Phoenix traded Marion and Marcus Banks to the Heat for Shaquille O’Neal. One year later, Marion was traded for another current Celtic center (Jermaine O’Neal). In 2009, Marion was part of the deal that sent Hedo Turkoglu to Toronto.
The Hawks current coach, Larry Drew, was an assistant for the man he replaced, Mike Woodson. Before the duo coached together, they were both traded in August of 1986. The Sacramento Kings sent Drew, Woodson, a 1988 1st round pick (Hersey Hawkins), and a 1989 2nd round pick to the Clippers. The Kings received Junior Bridgeman, Franklin Edwards, and Derek Smith.