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NBA History: Best Trade Deadline Deals

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The NBA trade deadline is always an exciting time of year during the season. This year’s deadline may not go down as one of the best in NBA history, but there will still some exciting moves that commenced on Thursday. The moves made will certainly leave an impact on each team involved, but which deadline deals have left the biggest impact in NBA history?

Top 5 Deadline Deals in NBA History

Clyde Drexler to the Houston Rockets in 1995

After the Rockets won the title in 1994, management felt they were a piece away from repeating in 1995. Bring in Hakeem Olajuwon’s ‘Phi Slama Jamma teammate Clyde Drexler.

Drexler had already proven himself as a star in the NBA, so trading for him in Houston immediately improved their final’s chances. A last-minute deadline deal created a pairing that launched the six-seeded Rockets to the NBA Finals.

Rasheed Wallace to the Detroit Pistons in 2004

The Rasheed Wallace trade to the Pistons put an abrupt halt on what was one of the dynasties in NBA history out in Los Angeles. Acquiring Wallace at the deadline legitimized the finals hopes of Detroit that season.

Fast forward to the 2004 NBA Finals, Rasheed Wallace may have not had the biggest impact on the stat sheet, but the pairing of Rasheed with Ben Wallace made life difficult for Shaquille O’Neal throughout the entire series.

A Gasol for a Gasol

The 2008 trade between the Grizzlies and the Lakers will go down as one of the most unique in NBA history. Down to its core, Memphis traded Pau Gasol for Marc Gasol, but picks and role players were thrown to the Grizzlies as well.

Los Angeles acquiring Pau at the deadline immediately gave Kobe Bryant a legitimate second option. In the following years, the Lakers won multiple championships and Memphis got one of the better centers in the NBA during the 2010s, making it one of the more successful deadline deals in NBA history.

Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple in 2011

A disgruntled star in Denver makes for one of the biggest deals in NBA history. Sure nothing came out of it for the Knicks, but the existence of a star of Melo’s caliber makes it one of the biggest deadline deals in history.

Little known fact, one of the second-round picks traded to the Nuggets ended up becoming the 2014 draft choice of Nikola Jokic.

Dikembe Mutombo to the 76ers in 2001

Mutombo was an aging center at the time, but that is not what Philadelphia was thinking. Riding the incredible MVP season of Allen Iverson in 2001, the Sixers thought Mutombo would be the answer to defending Shaq if Philly faced off against the Lakers in the Finals.

Spoiler alert: Philadelphia did play the Lakers in the 2001 NBA finals, and Mutombo was NOT the answer as the Sixers lost five. But at least we get this great moment out of that championship.

Deadline Deals in 2021

There might not be any trades on Thursday’s deadline that will rival Clyde the Glide to Houston or Melo to New York, but there was a lot of movement. Maybe in twenty years we look back and one of the picks traded becomes another Jokic. For now, the deadline had a lot of movement, but does not feel as significant as any of the moves listed.

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