Friday Fire: What Are the Worst Trades Ever?

1984. Shock becomes distaste.

In a crazy best of five first round series, the Sixers are ousted three games to two by Micheal Ray Richardson, Otis Birdsong and the New Jersey Nets a year after sweeping the Lakers and claiming their first championship since the days of Wilt and Hal Greer. The city goes mad and the organization searches for a fall guy. Inexplicably, Harold Katz pulls the trigger on a trade that sends TWO FIRST ROUND PICKS, Moses Malone and Terry Catledge to the Washington Bullets for oft-injured Jeff Ruland and shooting forward Cliff Robinson. Robinson becomes the key cog in the trade as Ruland plays a total of 7 games for Philadelphia. Moses puts in 50 in his Philadelphia return and is considered one of the best centers of all time. Trust there are a heap of Sixers (Barkley, Brad Daugherty) trades that still boils the blood but I will not stab myself in the back with the same old knife. Cough, cough…Wilt…cough cough. See, I’m still sick.

Of course I have many dubious transaction horrors screaming in and out of my mind over the years but what are yours? Here’s Okori’s thoughts. He breaks it down more thoroughly:

My one ground rule for this was as follows: You had to be able to reasonably proclaim that your guy was the face of the franchise.

10. Montreal Canadians trade Patrick Roy and Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky, and Andrei Kovalenko.

Hockey jumps in at #10 on this list. Keep this in mind: Patrick Roy had won 2 Stanley Cups (the Playoffs MVP each time incidentally) as a member of the Yankees of hockey, the Montreal Canadiens. He was a French-speaking star for a team who LOVES their french-speaking stars. And the Habs dismissed him out of the door after the coach of the team, Mario Tremblay, humiliated him by leaving him in to get shelled with 9 goals at home in the venerable Montreal Forum. End Result: Roy wins 2 more Cups in Colorado, Mike Keane settles into his role as tough guy, and Tremblay gets fired.

9: Atlanta Hawks trade Dominique Wilkins and a 1st-round pick to the Clippers for Danny Manning.

‘Nique. Just the name conjures up images of the duel between him and Larry Bird at the Boston Garden, the two Slam Dunk Contests, the multiple vicious put-back dunks (and Mike Fratello’s perm if you are so inclined.) But what it always represented was the Atlanta Hawks. Close your eyes right now. You see ‘Nique in the Pac-Man Hawks uniforms of the 80’s don’t you? So imagine how you felt, hell how I felt as an inveterate Hawks fan, when they traded him and a 1st-round pick to the Clippers for Danny Manning. It was like being stabbed in the stomach. ‘Nique, the guy who we had all grew up loving, was gone. End Result: Danny played 11 games with the Hawks, and then signed with Phoenix.

8: Chicago trades D Chris Chelios to Detroit for D Anders Ericksson and two 1st-round picks.

Full Disclosure: I am a Blackhawks fan. And this one gutted me. Absolutely gutted me. I cried into my pillow for a whole night when I heard about it. You see, I was raised on two things as a Hawks fan. Hate the Red Wings, and show some respect for the Canadiens. But mainly…. HATE THE RED WINGS.
If you told me that Steve Yzerman was the right hand of Satan, and that Nicklas Lidstrom masterminded an attempt to blow up Wrigley Field, I would believe it. We all would. We hate the Red Wings. That stupid winged wheel, their crappy little arena in that crappy part of a crappy city. I could go on for hours.

So imagine what it felt like to come home one day and have my world rocked by the knowledge that Chelly, my team’s captain for god’s sake, was being traded not just to anyone but to Satan’s hockey team. Imagine the Yankees trading Don Mattingly to the Red Sox and that’s what this was like. End Result: Chelios won 3 More Cups with Detroit, and I think is still playing.

7: Knicks trade Patrick Ewing to Seattle as part of 4-team, 12-player deal.

He wasn’t what they thought he would be. Let’s get that out of the way right now. He wasn’t the force of nature at Georgetown. But he was still theirs. And he had served their franchise with class and grace from the time he put on the orange and blue until the time he was traded shamefully. The fact that Patrick Ewing, a man who set almost every meaningful statistical record in Knicks history, could be shipped out like he was Jon Koncak killed the Knicks in a way that they haven’t recovered from since.

6. Mariners trade OF Ken Griffey Jr. to Cincinnati for P Brett Tomko, OF Mike Cameron,
P Jake Meyer and IF Antonio Perez

This one hurt more than you realize. See, for Mariners fans, Junior was the guy. He hit massive tape-measure home runs, made spectacular catches, and scored the winning run on the team’s first-ever postseason series win. He was the guy so many believed would break the HR record, and he was going to do it as a Mariner. That’s why, when he was traded to Cincinnati, it hurt in a way that nothing has before or since.

5. Boston trades D Ray Bourque and
LW Dave Andreychuk to Colorado for F Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Sami Pahlsson and a 1st-round pick (Martin Samuelsson)

This is one of, if not the only, time where the franchise is so inept that the fanbase begs their franchise guy to go somewhere else where they can go get the ring. Think of what that must have been like. What they must have had to have known would happen just to be willing to see their guy finally win one.

4. N.Y. Mets trade P Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for OF Steve Henderson, P Dan Norman, IF Doug Flynn and P Pat Zachry.

I don’t even know where to begin. This was an absolute travesty on all levels. Tom Seaver never wanted to leave. Never imagined he would leave. And yet, with the assistance of that old bastard Dick Young, he was shipped out of town. And now here we all stand, wondering why Seaver could not have stayed a Met like he should have been.

3: Sixers trade Allen Iverson to Denver for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and 2 first-round draft picks.

He wasn’t perfect. But with Allen Iverson perfection was never the point. The fact that he could stay upright, and continue to score in the manner that he had, that was the point. Also, you got the sense that AI completely understood what it meant to be a Sixer. It’s an underrated all-time great franchise. Greer, Wilt, Billy C, Bobby Jones, Dr. J, Moses, McGinnis, Barkley. And AI was the next guy who could keep the tradition going. The truth is that he wasn’t going to get the chance.

AI got sent out of town for Andre Miller, who provided stability and solid professionalism, Joe Smith, who was nowhere near as good as he should have been, and 2 first-round draft picks. In a fitting coda, AI was never the same. It’s almost as if finally being forced out killed him.

2. New York Mets trade Nolan Ryan and 3 others to California Angels for IF Jim Fregosi.

Ryan was a .500 pitcher before he got traded to the Angels and largely was a .500 pitcher for the entirety of his career. There is just one small problem.

Ryan became the all-time career leader in no-hitters and strikeouts. Meanwhile Jim Fregosi was gone as quick as he came in.

1. Oilers trade C Wayne Gretzky, LW Mike Krushelnyski and D Marty McSorley
to Los Angeles for C Jimmy Carson,
LW Martin Gelinas, three 1st-round picks and cash

This one is so clearly the number one that to imply it isn’t is an insult.

To sum up: It changed the way Canada viewed sports, destroyed a dynasty, changed the entire demographics of a league, and robbed Canada of a national hero. Other than that it’s pretty simple.

One Response to “Friday Fire: What Are the Worst Trades Ever?”

  1. michelle says:

    C-Webb to the Sixers. The Kings haven’t been right since the trade. Back to the basement of the NBA.