The Most Intriguing Rescinded Trades In The NBA

Controversy surrounded the blockbuster trade involving Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas along with Jae Crowder and a couple of other pieces. The possibility that the trade could be rescinded was high after the Cleveland Cavaliers balked due to concerns with Thomas’ health.

After news that the Cavs were looking for additional compensation due to the team’s concerns with Thomas’ hip injury, it looks like the trade has finally been approved by both sides. According to CBS Sports, the Cavs wanted another asset, likely Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, or another first-round pick. As per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, however, Boston has finally agreed to give up a second-round pick thus assuring that Irving and Thomas will switch teams this NBA season.

In an interview with ESPN, Thomas said that “he has made significant progress” and that he’s confident that he’ll be the same player when he gets back. The All-Star guard admitted that his injury will likely keep him from starting the upcoming NBA season on the active roster but he believes that his hip “won’t be a problem into the future.”

If things didn’t fall into place, the trade could’ve been rescinded. If this did happen, it wasn’t the first time that the NBA has witnessed such a scenario. Here are some of the most striking NBA trades to be rescinded.

Tyson Chandler of New Orleans to Oklahoma for Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox, and DeVon Hardin (2009)

Chandler failed his physical with the Thunder and was sent back to New Orleans. ESPN reported back then that OKC rescinded the trade because its team physician, Dr. Carlan Yates, determined that Chandler could re-injure his left big toe.

Interestingly, Yates operated on Chandler’s toe back in April 2007. Furthermore, Chandler wasn’t bothered by the toe after recovering from the surgery, playing in 79 games the following season. The games he missed in the season after that were because of injuries unrelated to his big toe.

If the trade wasn’t rescinded, OKC would’ve gotten a long rim protector to go with its trio of offensive juggernauts in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Chandler went on to have a long career and is, in fact, still in the NBA. Smith, meanwhile, played a few more years before he was gone from the NBA. Wilcox was traded to New York after the deal was rescinded. He played four more seasons before calling it quits after the 2012-13 NBA Season. Hardin never played in the NBA and spent most of his career overseas with stints in Greece, Israel, Brazil, and the Philippines.

Celtics’ Dino Radja for Sixers Clarence Weatherspoon and Michael Cage (1997)

In the late ’90s, Boston was involved in another controversial trade that was later rescinded. Dino Radja was supposed to go to Philadelphia for Clarence Weatherspoon and veteran banger Michael Cage. Unfortunately, Radja failed his physical. The Croatian big man supposedly had no more cartilage in his left knee, which caused the trade to be rescinded.

Weatherspoon was not happy with the trade especially after the Sixers brass didn’t communicate with him properly during the time. When he reported to camp, Spoon was not his usual self though, professional as he is, he played on. Weatherspoon was eventually traded to Golden State that season.

Boston made the deal mainly to get rid of Radja’s huge contract, which had three years left. He would’ve been a good replacement for Derrick Coleman, who was asking to be traded at the time. Weatherspoon and Cage, meanwhile, had one year left on their contracts which would give the Celtics a lot of flexibility.

The Celtics eventually got rid of Radja after his contract was bought out. He then signed to play overseas with Panathinaikos. Radja was upset with the trade because he was told by then coach Rick Pitino that he was a huge part of the Celtics’ plans. Five days after Pitino told him not to worry, the rescinded trade happened.

Robert Horry and Matt Bullard of Houston for Detroit’s Sean Elliott (1994)

Imagine what it would be like if Robert Horry wasn’t around to hit the big shots and help Houston win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That almost happened if not for Sean Elliot’s kidneys. The trade between Houston and Detroit was rescinded after Elliott failed his physical due to a kidney condition.

After the trade was rescinded, all three players felt differently. As Houston Chronicle reported, “Elliot was despondent. Bullard was angry. Horry was determined.”

Elliott was unhappy in Detroit and wanted out. That trade would’ve brought him back to Texas after previously playing for San Antonio. He was eventually traded back to the Spurs but not before entertaining thoughts of retiring rather than going back to Detroit. Elliott had a kidney transplant after the 1998-99 NBA season and returned to action in 2000. He retired the following season.

Bullard was disappointed at the rescinded trade for a number of reasons. His wife is from Detroit and it would’ve been a homecoming of sorts for the family. Bullard was also upset that he couldn’t play for Don Chaney, his old coach with Houston. Perhaps what angered him the most was the lost opportunity of playing a bigger role with the Pistons. Bullard said that Detroit told him that they were going to run plays for him.

According to Sporting News, Horry hung his Pistons jersey on the wall of his bedroom to remind him of how he had to improve his game to become the player that Houston wanted and thought they needed. Big Shot Rob used this as motivation to become THAT player.

Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton to Detroit, Joel Anthony to Philadelphia, first-round pick to Houston (2016)

Interestingly, Houston and Detroit were recently involved in another rescinded trade. A three-team trade, which also included the Sixers, was rescinded after Motiejunas failed his physical because of a bad back.

The deal was rescinded after the trading deadline. This meant everyone had to endure the awkwardness of going back to a team that didn’t want them. The teams also lost out on players that they needed. The Pistons, for one, needed bench help after dealing Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova for Orlando’s Tobias Harris. Thornton would’ve provided the scoring punch from the bench while Motiejunas would’ve been a capable replacement for Ilyasova if healthy.

NBA vetoes Chris Paul trade to Lakers (2011)

If there’s one rescinded trade that had the deepest impact on those involved, it’s the one that former NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed in 2011. The rescinded trade was supposed to bring Chris Paul, then with New Orleans Hornets, to the Lakers joining Kobe Bryant in what could’ve been a monster backcourt. In return, the Hornets would’ve gotten Laker Lamar Odom along with Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, and a first rounder from the Rockets. Houston would then receive Pau Gasol from the Lakers.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, along with the 27 other NBA owners, objected to the trade. Gilbert sent a letter saying that “it would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul.” Stern listened and rescinded the trade for “basketball reasons.”

One of the most common questions hounding Stern’s tenure is what could have happened if he didn’t veto the trade. The Lakers would be the team to benefit the most. A KB24-CP3 backcourt is almost certain to bring championships to Laker Land or at least make the Purple and Gold among the best teams in the NBA for years to come.

Kobe and Paul supposedly wanted to play with each other but will never get the chance after the Black Mamba called it quits after the 2016 NBA Season.

Paul was instead traded to Lakers’ cross-town rival, the Clippers, where he spent six years making the playoffs but falling short of an NBA Finals appearance. He’ll continue chasing a championship with James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

The Hornets lost a superstar in Paul but would’ve gained some valuable role players if the deal wasn’t rescinded. Martin was fresh off a 23-point average season while Scola scored 18 points and grabbed 8 rebounds a game. Statistics-wise, these two would’ve made up for what New Orleans lost with Paul. Plus, there’s The Dragon. Dragic was an able backup point guard at the time but soon blossomed into a starter and eventually won the Most Improved Player award in 2014. He’s now one of the main men for the Miami Heat.

Gasol would’ve given the Rockets an All-Star big man to compensate for the loss of Yao Ming, who retired during the 2011 offseason. Pau went on to play three more seasons with the Lakers before going to Chicago and San Antonio.

While Gasol remained professional about the rescinded trade, Odom was distraught. In fact, it’s quite safe to say that Lamar was the most affected of all the players involved in the rescinded trade.

“That trade from the Lakers basically ended my career and purpose,” Odom told The Vertical.

“I was never really myself ever again.”

After the rescinded trade, Odom was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks for a first-round pick. But even a move to a championship-caliber team did not alleviate the pain he felt. Lamar has been on the spotlight since. He dealt with drug and alcohol abuse, a drug overdose that almost took his life, and a botched marriage with reality star Kourtney Kardashian.

For now, Odom has taken control of his life and is focused on taking care of his children and running a restaurant he co-owns. There are rumors that Odom will sign a one-day contract with the Lakers so he could retire as one.

In December 2016, Stern finally explained why he vetoed the trade. Stern said that there was never a trade. According to Sports Illustrated, the general manager of the Hornets, Dell Demps, did not have the authority to pursue a trade at the time making the blockbuster trade technically inexistent. Stern further stressed that there was nothing to “void” because the deal was “just never got made.”

“There was never a trade. It was never approved by me as the owner rep.”

If there’s one thing common with all the rescinded trades in this list, it’s that most of the players involved were not happy. They also had to deal with the awkwardness of going back to the team that didn’t want them.

If the latest report from Wojnarowski is true, then Boston and Cleveland have dodged a bullet and prevented such drama.

[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]

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