Metrics 101: NBA’s Most 1-Sided Trades of the Last 5 Years

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Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks

Toronto Raptors Get 8.6 Win Shares: 2016 first-round pick that became Jakob Poeltl (7.2), Steve Novak (1.4), Marcus Camby (0), Quentin Richardson (0), 2014 second-round pick that became Xavier Thames (0), 2017 second-round pick that became Jonah Bolden (0)

New York Knicks Get 2.4 Win Shares: Andrea Bargnani (2.4)

It’s tough to call this a heist because the Toronto Raptors didn’t get anything of extreme value in return for Andrea Bargnani, who flamed out with the New York Knicks and wasn’t able to average more than 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists while playing shoddy defense and slashing 44.7/30.2/81.8 during his two Big Apple seasons. But Jakob Poeltl alone was far more valuable before serving as a primary piece in this summer’s trade for Kawhi Leonard. 

In fact, Bargnani’s value was closer to that of Steve Novak, and the veteran sharpshooter spent just 54 games playing for the Canadian franchise during his age-30 season. 


Rajon Rondo Disaster

Boston Celtics Get 18.2 Win Shares: Jae Crowder (17.3), 2016 first-round pick that became Guerschon Yabusele (0.6), Brandan Wright (0.2), 2016 second-round pick that became Demetrius Jackson (0.1), Jameer Nelson (0)

Dallas Mavericks Get 15.5 Win Shares: Dwight Powell (14.9), Rajon Rondo (0.6)

We could wax poetic about Jae Crowder’s efficacy with the Boston Celtics, which allowed him to function as one of the NBA’s best per-dollar values before he was moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the Kyrie Irving swap.

But this is simpler. 

Rajon Rondo was an absolute disaster with the Dallas Mavericks, and everything boiled over when he was dismissed from a first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets (sold as a back injury) after disagreements with head coach Rick Carlisle and a poor, borderline contagious attitude, per’s Tim MacMahon. Dwight Powell salvages this trade, but acquiring him was originally intended to be more of a fringe benefit. 


DeMarcus Cousins Leaves Sacramento

New Orleans Pelicans Get 6.3 Win Shares: DeMarcus Cousins (6.3), Omri Casspi (0)

Sacramento Kings Get 5.0 Win Shares: Buddy Hield (3.6), Tyreke Evans (0.8), 2017 second-round pick that became Frank Mason II (0.5), Langston Galloway (0.1), 2017 first-round pick that became Zach Collins (0)

This might’ve looked worse if DeMarcus Cousins had never suffered a ruptured Achilles, setting the stage for increased chemistry alongside Anthony Davis and a possible new pact during the 2018 offseason. But now that he’s joining the Golden State Warriors, it’ll start trending in the opposite direction if Frank Mason II continues looking like a minor draft steal and Buddy Hield receives an opportunity to break out. 

Hield’s shooting acumen already makes this palatable for the Sacramento Kings. But they still gave up far more than they got, even with a finger injury limiting Omri Casspi’s bayou-based tenure to only a single appearance. 


Serge Ibaka Begins Short Orlando Stay

Oklahoma City Thunder Get 4.8 Win Shares: Victor Oladipo (4.0), Domantas Sabonis (0.8), Ersan Ilyasova (0)

Orlando Magic Get 3.8 Win Shares: Serge Ibaka (3.8)

This is a confusing trade because of what’s happened to each and every player since they left the organizations to which they were traded in June of 2016. 

Serge Ibaka was a horrid fit with the Orlando Magic and was shopped to the Toronto Raptors mere months later, bringing back only the disappointing Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick that became Anzejs Pasecniks. Ersan Ilyasova left the Oklahoma City Thunder in another trade after only three games played, and the Victor Oladipo/Domantas Sabonis combination disappointed before they were parlayed into Paul George the next offseason. 

Because of the George addition (and the fact the organization just re-signed him rather than watching him flee to Los Angeles), it’s pretty obvious who won this swap. But we’re not accounting for those secondary moves in the objective analysis, hence the placement among the honorable mentions. 

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