There have been many bad trades in the NBA, ones that never panned out and disappointed. However, there have also been good deals that helped change the direction of an organization. On Thanksgiving Day, here are seven recent trades for which NBA teams should give thanks.
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
How He Got There: On July 11, 2012 the Houston Rockets traded Lowry to the Toronto Raptors for Gary Forbes and a first-round draft pick.
It can be obvious when a player has found his fit. That has been the case for Lowry and the Raptors. Lowry helped drive the Raptors to the playoffs last season and signed a multi-year deal to stay in Toronto over the summer. This time around he is leading the team to a tie for the best record in the NBA. The veteran point guard is averaging a career-best 18.4 points and 5.0 rebounds, along with 6.1 assists per game. His teammates have bought into his leadership on and off the court, strengthening the chemistry on this hungry Raptors squad.
James Harden, Houston Rockets
How He Got There: The Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to the Houston Rockets for Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin, two first round picks and a second round pick October 27, 2012.
The price was right for Harden and the Rockets, and now they are cashing in on early season success. Harden is the league’s third-leading scorer with 25.2 points per game. The former Sixth Man of the Year is also averaging 6.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.8 steals and shooting 90 percent at the free throw line. The Rockets (11-3) are off to a hot start and Harden will be the one to lead them to the postseason.
Rudy Gay, Sacramento Kings
How He Got There: On December 9, 2013, the Toronto Raptors traded Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to the Sacramento Kings for Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Greivis Vasquez.
The Kings are … winning. The team once known for its struggles is making a statement in the Western Conference this season. Gay has been the veteran leader on a squad with young talent. He is averaging 21.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and a career-high 3.8 assists per game. His experience will help the Kings as they look to continue pushing through the West.
Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards
How He Got There: The Phoenix Suns traded Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Emeka Okafor and a future first round draft pick on October 25, 2013.
How happy have the Wizards been with Gortat? $60 million happy. After his first season with the Wizards, they signed him to a five-year last summer and he has continued to contribute at a high level. This season the center is posting 12.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. The Wizards are currently ranked second in the Eastern Conference and have the pieces to stay atop the rankings.
Courtney Lee, Memphis Grizzlies
How He Got There: The Memphis Grizzlies acquired Courtney Lee in a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder on January 7, 2014. In the deal, the Celtics traded Lee and a 2016 second round draft pick to the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies traded Jerryd Bayless to the Celtics and a pair of future second round picks to the Thunder.
Last season Lee struggled to establish a role on the Celtics. A move in January sent him to his fifth team, where he has been thriving this season for the league-leading Grizzlies. Lee is averaging career highs in scoring (13.8 points) and assists (2.4) while grabbing 3.0 rebounds in 33.2 minutes per game. He’s also shooting an amazing 56.1 percent from three-point land. He has clicked within the Grizzlies system and turned around his game in his seventh season.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks
How He Got There: The Chicago Bulls traded Korver to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for cash on July 16, 2012.
The Hawks landed one of the best three-point shooters in the game by trading for Korver. This season Korver is hitting 55.7 percent of his attempts from long range while also shooting 92.6 percent at the line. Overall, he is averaging 12.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in his 12th season. A pure shooter like Korver can prove invaluable in postseason pushes.
Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers
How He Got There: The Boston Celtics released Doc Rivers from his contract to pursue a coaching opportunity with the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for a future first round draft pick on June 25, 2013.
In an uncommon move, the Clippers found their new head coach through a trade in the summer of 2013. Rivers took over the helm for the Clippers and was also named Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations. The team already had the talent; Rivers gave them a championship-winning coach to drive the current players and draw others in free agency. His early decision to cover the Los Angeles Lakers championship banners with Clippers posters at the Staples Center set the tone for his leadership.
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