True to any basketball game, the NBA has full of surprises. Changes that leave die-hard fans scratching their head for pure disbelief or jump out of their seats.
While trading and free agency signings are nothing new, the news of who changes what are still the biggest bombs the fans and basketball spectators need to contend with.
These are some of the most surprising moves in the NBA world over the last ten years.
1) LeBron James Left Cleveland Cavaliers to Join Miami Heat (2010 NBA Season)
James started it all when he ‘decided’ to join Miami Heat. His goal was to bring a championship to Cleveland, creating superteams with Chris Bosch and Dwayne Wade with them. Granted.
However, the drama involved was too much for the fans to take in when he was only heating up with Cleveland Cavaliers. James said it was a free agent decision, but was actually a trade he initiated.
2) Carmelo Anthony traded from Denver Nuggets to New York Knicks (2011 NBA Season)
A blockbuster trade that had the experts rolling, Anthony wanted to be with the Nuggets. However, talks about possible extensions failed. He was traded to the Knicks.
Anthony upped his game with three-point shooting MVP-like efforts, but to no avail. Indiana Pacers robbed them as early as the second round. Still, New York Knicks appeared in three playoffs with Melo on the lead. Melo, along with Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire, made up the “Big 3.”
3) Dwight Howard left Orlando Magic for Los Angeles Lakers (2012 NBA Season)
Howard is one of the big men in the NBA. He was expected to go somewhere (with speculations brewing as early as 12 months back), likely the Lakers whose men beat his team up in the finals leading to the trade. Howard’s other choices then were Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks.
It was his wish to be traded from Magic, which was in the process of rebuilding the franchise but without the NBA’s best centre at the time.
4) James Harden left Oklahoma City Thunder to join Houston Rockets (2013 NBA Season)
In 2012, Oklahoma City Thunder was poised to become the next NBA champion with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. Still, Harden was traded off despite being the 6th Man of the Year. His valuable scoring was overshadowed by the high luxury tax to resign him. An extension was discussed but did not materialise.
Houston Rockets benefited from the trade, experiencing its first Finals, thanks to Harden and the rest of the team. Harden became a restricted free agent in the 2014 season.
5) Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City Thunder for Golden State Warriors (2016 NBA Season)
Keen on an NBA championship that never came his way, Durant moved to the Golden State Warriors.
The 2017 NBA Finals proved to be a fruitful trade. Durant never came close to the finals despite winning four scoring titles and being the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) once. With the Warriors, his talent and potential could be appreciated more, than with the Thunder.
6) Kawhi Leonard left San Antonio Spurs to join Toronto Raptors (2018 NBA Season)
Another dramatic trade, Leonard, plagued with injuries in the previous season, requested for the said trade. Toronto Raptors took a risk and signed him in.
Both teams have been talking about the trade for months before its conclusion, noting that Leonard was a ‘very tough sell’ because he is. He was the previous seasons Finals MVP winner aside from being a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Leonard became a free agent in 2019.