What is the worst trade in NBA history?
The Kings shocked the NBA by trading All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins in a deal centered around a 2017 first-round pick and Buddy Hield, a rookie who Kings owner Vivek Ranadive reportedly believes has “Steph Curry potential.” Kings GM Vlade Divac — who, as a player, was traded from the Lakers to the Hornets for Kobe Bryant in a regrettable 1996 deal — admitted to having a better offer “two days” before making the deal.
The Kings are a rudderless ship, but there have been many terrible trades in NBA history. The Celtics traded draft picks to the Warriors for Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish in a 1980 deal. Former Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien traded away first-round picks in five consecutive years — one of which turned into 1982 No. 1 overall pick James Worthy — inspiring the “Stepien Rule,” which prohibits teams from trading first-round picks in successive seasons.
But even that rule hasn’t been able to protect teams from themselves. In 2013, the Brooklyn Nets traded a handful of draft picks to acquire veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Celtics. As a result, Boston has the No. 1 overall pick this year (through an option to swap picks with Brooklyn) and could again in 2018 (with Brooklyn’s unprotected pick outright).