6 NBA Draft Night Trade Regrets (last decade)

Every year there are dozens of trades the night of the NBA Draft. There is an oddity about the NBA Draft that trades are completed after the picks are made. That means some guys walk up on stage with one hat, and swap it out for a different one later in the evening.

But hat or not hat, these teams made a great pick – for some other team. A look back at 6 trades that have shook the landscape of the NBA over the past decade.

Nuggets trade Rudy Gobert to Jazz

In 2013, Nuggets picked Gobert 27th and traded him on draft night for the 46th pick (Erick Green) and cash. Gobert was Third Team All-NBA in 2019 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2018

Nuggets trade Donovan Mitchell to Jazz

Maybe Denver should stop trading with Utah on draft night? Nuggets took Mitchell 13th and sent him to Denver for Trey Lyles and the 24th pick (Tyler Lydon).

Magic acquire Serge Ibaka

In 2016, the Magic drafted Domantas Sabonis 11th overall. Minutes later, he was traded to the Thunder along with Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova for Ibaka, who played 56 games in Orlando. Magic traded Ibaka to the Raptors in 2017 for Terrence Ross. One year later, the Thunder would package Sabonis and Oladipo to the Thunder for Paul George.

Wolves trade several first round picks for Jimmy Butler

During the 2017 draft, Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for, what essentially amount to, three first round picks – they acquired the rights to #7 and draft Lauri Markannen, 2016 first round pick Kris Dunn, and 2014 first round pick Zach LaVine. Butler played 69 games for the Wolves and led them to one playoff game victory.

Pacers drafted Kawhi Leonard

In 2011, Pacers drafted Leonard and traded him immediately to the Spurs for George Hill. Hill spent 5 years with the Pacers on some good Indy teams. Leonard’s story is known – won the NBA Finals and Finals MVP in 2014 with the Spurs, knocking off the Heat and just did the same with the Raptors, knocking off the Warriors.

Thunder traded Eric Bledsoe to Clippers

Bledsoe was the #18 pick in the 2010 draft and traded immediately to the Thunder for a future first round pick. That pick was later used by the Thunder as part of a package with Jeff Green to the Celtics for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson.

Bobcats drafted Tobias Harris for the Bucks

This was such a weird trade – in 2011, the Bobcats, Kings, and Bucks completed a three team trade on draft night. Bobcats came away with Corey Maggette and the #7 pick, which was Bismack Biyombo, Kings got John Salmons and the #10 pick, which was Jimmer Fredette, and the Bucks came away with Beno Udrih, Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, and the #18 pick, Tobias Harris.

Beyond the past decade

I could go on and on about various trades – Hornets drafted Kobe Bryant #13 in 1996 and traded him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. The same year, Bucks traded #4 pick Stephon Marbury to the Wolves for #5 Ray Allen.

Two years later, another #4 for #5 trade occurred when the Warriors drafted Vince Carter 4th and traded him to the Raptors for his UNC teammate Antawn Jamison.

That same 1998 draft, Bucks drafted Dirk Nowitzki 9th overall and traded him to the Mavs that same night. He was swapped for Robert “Tractor” Traylor, who the Mavs picked 6th overall.


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About Mike Schneid 495 Articles
Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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