NBA

NBA Trade Deadline: Revisiting the most impactful deals since 2000

The trade deadline for the 2020-21 NBA season has come and gone with a burst of significant moves surrounding players like Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon, which have potential to shape this year and beyond.

While deals have already been discussed and executed in the days leading up, sometimes deals aren't done until the 11th hour (see: Victor Oladipo in 2021). In years past, some last-minute deadline deals have had a lasting ripple effect across the league.

MORE: Analyzing the notable moves at the 2021 trade deadline

With that in mind, take a look back at some of the most notable deals made on the actual deadline date since the year 2000.

2019 - Toronto Raptors get Marc Gasol

The trade: Raptors acquired Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and a 2024 second-round draft pick.

The impact: Raptors win 2019 NBA title

Despite owning the East's second-best record, the Raptors made a big splash at the deadline, motioning to acquire a former Defensive Player of the Year in Gasol. The result? Gasol almost immediately became Toronto's defensive anchor, with his impact truly felt in the postseason.

Thanks to Gasol's efforts, life was made difficult for Nikola Vucevic and Joel Embiid in the opening rounds of the playoffs and the Raptors would go on to win the first title in franchise history.

MORE: Players react to an eventful 2021 trade deadline

2018 - Dwyane Wade returns to Miami Heat

The trade: Heat acquired Wade from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a heavily-protected 2024 second-round draft pick.

The impact: #OneLastDance

Remember when D-Wade was with the Cavs? It's one of those things that probably shouldn't have happened but will be an interesting footnote in history.

A bitter ending to Wade's tenure in Miami made for a strange year-and-a-half span that paved the way for a sweet reunion at the 2018 trade deadline. From there, Wade had some vintage moments during the 2018 playoffs and, after announcing the 2018-19 season would be his last, had a farewell tour fit for a Hall of Famer, complete with game-winners and countless jersey swaps.

It was all made possible by a trade deadline deal.

2015 - A notable homecoming

The trades: Minnesota Timberwolves acquire Kevin Garnett from Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Thaddeus Young.

The impact: Garnett retires where it all begins

In 1995, Garnett made his debut as a wide-eyed 18-year-old, drafted fifth overall out of high school by the Wolves.

Nearly 20 years later, a 37-year-old Garnett returned to Minnesota to serve as a veteran mentor for a team that featured a talented young duo of Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. His first game back in front of the Target Center crowd? Nothing short of epic.

KG would remain with the Wolves through the 2015-16 season, where Minnesota brought in another young talent in Karl-Anthony Towns, who was taken under Garnett's wing as well. KG started in Minnesota, won an MVP there and, thanks to a deadline deal, finished his career there.

2015 - Phoenix Suns deal a pair of guards

The trades: Suns traded Isaiah Thomas to the Boston Celtics as part of a three-team deal that also included the Detroit Pistons.

In a separate three-team deal that also included the New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix sent Goran and Zoran Dragic to the Miami Heat.

The impact: 2016-17 MVP race; 2020 NBA Finals

The Suns entered the 2014-15 NBA season with three starting-calibre guards in Eric Bledsoe, Dragic and Thomas.

By the trade deadline, something needed to be done.

In two separate three-team deals made on the same day, Dragic was dealt to Miami along with his brother, while Thomas was sent to Boston. As a Celtic, Thomas became one of the league's premier clutch performers during an epic 2016-17 season that saw him average 28.9 points per game, earn All-NBA Second Team honours and a fifth-place MVP finish.

Dragic, who remains with the Heat over six years later, earned an All-Star selection in 2018 and played an integral role in Miami's impressive Finals run in 2020.

2011 - Cleveland Cavaliers acquire future No. 1 pick along with Baron Davis

The trade: Los Angeles Clippers trade Davis and a 2011 first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Jamario Moon and Mo Williams.

The impact: Pick becomes No. 1 and is used to select Kyrie Irving

Sure, Kyrie and Blake Griffin are teammates with the Nets now, but it could have happened 10 years sooner.

Looking to part ways with Davis, the Clippers sweetened the deal by tacking on their first-round pick to the Cavs, who, in their first-year post-LeBron James, sent Jamario Moon and Mo Williams to LA. Cleveland entered the draft lottery with two picks and evidently, luck was on its side.

With their own pick, the Cavs would select fourth, but would earn the No. 1 pick courtesy of the Clippers despite having just a 2.8 percent chance of doing so. Of course, that pick was used to select the eventual Rookie of the Year in Irving, who also hit one of the biggest shots in NBA history to help lead Cleveland to its first-ever NBA title.

All made possible on trade deadline day.

2005 - Baron Davis is traded to Golden State Warriors

The trade: Golden State acquires Davis from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis.

The impact: "We Believe" Warriors are born

When Davis' time in New Orleans had come to an end, he was sent to his home state in California where he would join the Warriors.

After missing the playoffs in 2005 and 2006, Davis led Golden State to a 42-40 record in the 2006-07 season, where it would squeak into the playoffs to face the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks and league MVP Dirk Nowitzki.

With fans and players donning gold "We Believe" tees throughout Oracle Arena, Davis and the Warriors shocked the basketball world, becoming the first eighth seed to earn a series win since the NBA adopted a seven-game format in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs.

2004 - Rasheed Wallace is sent to the Detroit Pistons

The trade: The Atlanta Hawks sent Wallace to Detroit as part of a three-team trade that also included the Boston Celtics.

The impact: The Pistons win 2004 NBA title

If you don't remember Wallace's stint with the Hawks, it's probably because it lasted for a grand total of one game.

Still at the top of his game, the Pistons motioned to acquire Wallace at the deadline, adding him to a roster that featured Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace. With Rasheed Wallace in the fold, Detroit finished the season with a 54-28 record and the East's No. 3 seed.

In the Finals, Detroit met a Los Angeles Lakers team that featured four Hall of Famers. In one of the more surprising results in league history, the Pistons seemingly cruised to a 4-1 series win, with Rasheed Wallace averaging 13.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in the series.

During Wallace's time with the Pistons, he made two All-Star appearances, the team won the NBA Finals in 2004, made it back in 2005 and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

2003 - Milwaukee Bucks and Seattle SuperSonics swap All-Star guards

The trade: Milwaukee and Seattle agree upon a deal centred that swapped All-Stars Ray Allen and Gary Payton.

The impact: Allen plays at All-NBA level as Sonic, ninth-place MVP finish is 2004-05

Including the postseason, Payton spent a total of 34 games with the Bucks before joining the Lakers in the 2003 offseason. Milwaukee also acquired Desmond Mason, who averaged 15.8 points in two full seasons as a Buck.

That being said, this trade is mainly about Allen's impact in Seattle.

After missing the postseason in 2003 and 2004, Allen put forth one of the best seasons of his career in 2004-05, leading the Sonics to a 50-32 record after averaging 23.9 points per game. During his time in Seattle, Allen averaged 24.6 points while knocking down 2.9 3s per game at a 38.6 percent clip.

2001 - Dikembe Mutombo is dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers

The trade: Atlanta sends Mutombo to Philadelphia in exchange for a package centred around Toni Kukoc and Theo Ratliff.

The impact: The 2001 NBA Finals

At the 2001 deadline, the Sixers led the Eastern Conference but needed to make a move to increase their chances at making a serious run.

Mutombo was that guy.

One of the premier defensive bigs in the league, Mutombo hit the ground running in Philly, earning Defensive Player of the Year for a record fourth time in the 2000-01 season. In the postseason, Mutombo's presence was at its most impactful in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, where he finished with 23 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks.

The juggernaut Lakers were too much to deal with in the 2001 NBA Finals but had it not been for the move to get Mutombo, the Sixers might not have made it that far.

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