With the 2013 NBA trade deadline only a matter of hours away, there will be some big deals go down, but there will also be a few deals that we could look back on a few years from now and say “What a steal.”
Some trades take some time to truly be evaluated, but when it is all said and done, one team usually makes out like bandits.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the five biggest steals on deadline day of all time.
Honorable Mention: 1989 – Indiana Pacers trade Herb Williams to the Dallas Mavericks for Detlef Schrempf
Schrempf became an instant star for the Pacers, winning a pair of Sixth Man awards in 1990 and 91. In addition, he made three All-Star teams as a member of the Pacers while Williams was nothing more than an average rotation guy in Dallas.
5. 1965 – Philadelphia 76ers trade Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer and cash to the San Francisco Warriors for Wilt Chamberlain
This only comes in at No. 5 because technically there was no trade deadline in 1965, but the deal was made right after the All-Star break so it makes the list. Chamberlain is one of the greatest players of all-time, so this needs little explaining, but from 1965-68 Chamberlain averaged 28.0 points and 23.7 rebounds per game for the Sixers.
4. 1988 – Phoenix Suns trade Larry Nance to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kevin Johnson, Mark West and a first-round pick (Dan Majerle)
Nance was an All-Star a couple of times with the Cavs, but Johnson and Majerle turned around a dormant franchise and even got the Suns to the Finals in 1993. Looking back at the Suns history, there are few players more popular in team history than Johnson and Majerle.
3. 1994 – Chicago Bulls trade Stacey King to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Luc Longley and Dragan Tarlac
Longley wasn’t the most talented player, but he was a fantastic passing big man and almost the perfect fit for Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. By dealing a role player in King, the Bulls got their starting center on their final three championship teams.
2. 1980 – Denver Nuggets trade George McGinnnis to the Indiana Pacers for Alex English
English was one of the best pure scorers in NBA history and made eight All-Star games as a Nugget and led the team to nine playoff appearances during his time there, while McGinnis, who was a former ABA All-Star, retired two years later.
1. 1994 – Utah Jazz trade Jeff Malone and a draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jeff Hornacek, Sean Green, and a draft pick
A lot of the success of the Utah Jazz was due to the John Stockton-Karl Malone duo, but don’t underestimate how important Hornacek was. He was an outstanding piece and his three-point shooting allowed the Jazz to stretch the floor. Hornacek was the missing piece and nearly helped the Jazz win a pair of titles, but ultimately they had to run into that Michael Jordan fellow.
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