Toronto Raptors

NBA Trade Deadline: Midseason deals that were instrumental in championship runs

More often than not, trade deals agreed to before the midseason deadline aren't ones that would majorly swing the pendulum in any one contending team's favour.

However, there are a few in NBA history that were the spark of an ensuing championship run.

Here's a look at the four most notable mid-season acquisitions that were instrumental in the team's title run.

2019 - Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors

The most recent of them all.

After nearly 12 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, the younger Gasol was traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for CJ Miles, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and a 2024 second-round pick.

Gasol proved to be a critical playmaking defensive big man that helped the Raptors contend with and overcome Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference Semifinals in their run to the 2019 title, the first in franchise history.

2004 - Rasheed Wallace to the Detroit Pistons

In the span of a couple of weeks in February of 2004, Rasheed Wallace represented three teams, the last of which he won a championship with.

The Detroit Pistons acquired the 6-foot-10 forward from the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team trade that also included the Boston Celtics. A week earlier, the Hawks had acquired Wallace from the Portland Trail Blazers along with Wesley Person in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Theo Ratliff and Dan Dickau.

The Pistons added Wallace to an already star-studded starting line-up of Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace. Adding his talent and experience to their depth helped Detroit win their third title in franchise history by upsetting the heavily-favoured Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.

1995 - Clyde Drexler to the Houston Rockets

With the Portland Trail Blazers out of contention for the 1994-95 season, the franchise honoured the trade request of their superstar Clyde Drexler, trading him to a contender.

Along with Tracy Murray, Drexler was dealt to the defending champion Houston Rockets in exchange for Otis Thorpe, the draft rights of Marcelo Nicola and a 1995 first-round draft pick.

Although the Rockets went 17-18 the rest of the regular season with him, Drexler proved his worth in the playoffs. He came up huge in the postseason for the Rockets, who came back from a 3-1 series deficit in the Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns en route to winning their second consecutive title by sweeping the Orlando Magic in the 1995 NBA Finals.

Although teammate Hakeem Olajuwon was named the Finals MVP, Drexler averaged 21.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game in the series. This was Drexler's first NBA title in his third Finals appearance.

1989 - Mark Aguirre to the Detroit Pistons

After spending seven and a a half seasons with the Dallas Mavericks - the franchise that drafted him - Mark Aguirre was dealt midway through the 1988-89 season to a team looking to clinch it's first NBA title.

Aguirre was shipped to the Pistons in exchange for Adrian Dantley and a first-round pick. Upon acquiring him, the Pistons went on to win consecutive championships in 1989 and 1990.

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