9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (2024)

In the high-stakes world of NBA trades, teams sometimes pay steep prices to acquire star talent. Over the last 10 years, several trades have stood out for the sheer volume of assets exchanged, often raising questions about whether the cost was justified. Notably, the New York Knicks' acquisition of Mikal Bridges and the Minnesota Timberwolves' trade for Rudy Gobert have sparked considerable debate.

The Knicks acquired Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets by trading four first-round picks, a pick swap, and a future Bucks' first-round pick. This hefty price was paid to reunite Bridges with his former Villanova teammates Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo. The trade's steep cost underscores the Knicks' commitment to building a championship contender, but it also raises questions about the long-term impact on their draft capital.

Similarly, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded five first-round picks and several players to the Utah Jazz for Rudy Gobert, aiming to strengthen their defense with the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Despite Gobert's defensive prowess, the substantial cost has been scrutinized given the team's performance since the trade.

These deals highlight a trend where teams heavily invest in immediate success, often at the expense of their future flexibility and assets. This article delves into these trades and other significant deals, exploring the broader implications of such high-stakes decisions.

1. A Bold Move For Bradley Beal By The Suns

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (1)

Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Suns receive: Bradley Beal, Jordan Goodwin, Isaiah Todd

Wizards receive: Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, four first-round pick swaps (2024, 2026, 2028, 2030), six second-round picks (2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, 2030), $4.6 million in cash

The 2023-24 season was a mixed bag for the Phoenix Suns following their high-profile acquisition of Bradley Beal. Despite the promise of a superteam, the Suns faced several challenges, including injuries and defensive inconsistencies.

Bradley Beal played 53 games due to back and ankle injuries, averaging 18.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. He had standout moments, such as a 36-point game against the Minnesota Timberwolves that helped the Suns secure the sixth seed in the Western Conference and avoid the play-in tournament.

The Suns ended the regular season with a 49-33 record. Despite high hopes, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Timberwolves in a heartbreaking sweep. The team struggled with defensive cohesion, ranking 18th in defensive rating, and often relied heavily on their offensive firepower.

While Beal's addition provided an offensive boost, the trade's heavy cost in draft capital and financial flexibility has left the Suns in a precarious position. The combined salaries of Beal, Kevin Durant, and Devin Booker now exceed $500 million through the 2027-28 season, limiting the team's ability to build depth and address defensive needs.

The trade for Bradley Beal highlights the risks of pursuing immediate success at the expense of long-term stability. While Beal, Durant, and Booker formed a formidable trio, the team's overall performance did not meet championship expectations. For the Wizards, the trade provided valuable assets for a rebuild, positioning them for a brighter future. As the Suns look ahead, addressing their defensive shortcomings and maintaining the health of their star players will be crucial for turning their high-stakes gamble into a winning formula.

2. The Rudy Gobert Gamble

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (2)

Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Timberwolves receive: Rudy Gobert

Jazz receive: Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler (draft rights), 2023 first-round pick, 2025 first-round pick, 2026 pick swap, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 first-round pick (top-five protected)

In a blockbuster trade during the 2022 offseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz, aiming to bolster their defense and establish themselves as serious playoff contenders.

Rudy Gobert had a strong 2023-24 season, averaging 14.0 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 66.1% from the field. His defensive prowess was recognized as he won the 2023-24 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, marking his fourth time receiving this honor. Gobert's defensive impact helped the Timberwolves finish with the best defensive rating in the league.

The Timberwolves finished the regular season with a 56-26 record, securing the third seed in the Western Conference. They swept the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs, showcasing their defensive strength. In a tight Western Conference Semifinals series against the Denver Nuggets, they prevailed in seven games, falling to the Dallas Mavericks in their second-ever Conference Finals

The trade’s heavy cost raised questions about the long-term impact on the Timberwolves’ future flexibility. Walker Kessler, who was part of the trade package, emerged as a promising player for the Jazz. Despite these concerns, Gobert's presence significantly improved Minnesota's defense, making the team a formidable playoff contender.

The Rudy Gobert trade underscores the high-risk nature of blockbuster deals. While the Timberwolves improved defensively and had a successful regular season, the ultimate success of this trade will depend on their playoff performance. The Jazz, meanwhile, have benefited from the trade with valuable assets to build their future.

3. The Paul George Massive Move To The Clippers In 2019

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (3)

Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Clippers receive: Paul George

Thunder receive: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024, and 2026, unprotected first-round picks via Miami in 2021 and 2023, and the rights to swap picks in 2023 and 2025.

In the summer of 2019, the Los Angeles Clippers orchestrated one of the most significant trades in recent NBA history to acquire Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder. This trade was a critical part of their strategy to also secure Kawhi Leonard, forming a star-studded duo aimed at bringing a championship to the Clippers.

The Clippers' trade package for George was massive, involving young talent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, veteran scorer Danilo Gallinari, and a multitude of draft picks. The deal included unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024, and 2026, unprotected first-round picks via Miami in 2021 and 2023, and the rights to swap picks in 2023 and 2025. The scale of the trade underscored the Clippers' commitment to immediate success.

Paul George had an impressive 2023-24 season, averaging 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Despite his strong individual performance, the Clippers faced significant challenges, primarily due to injuries to both George and Leonard. The duo's limited availability impacted the team's cohesion and consistency on the court. The Clippers finished the regular season with a 51-31 record, securing the fourth seed in the Western Conference and losing in the first round, a catastrophic result given the massive expectations.

The Clippers' postseason was short-lived, as they were eliminated in the first round by the Mavericks in six games. This early exit highlighted the team's issues with depth and the persistent injury problems of their star players. While George's playoff performance was solid, it was insufficient to carry the team past the first round.

For the Oklahoma City Thunder, the trade has been transformative. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has developed into an All-Star, All-NBA, and one of the league's brightest young talents. In the 2023-24 season, he averaged 30.1 points per game, leading the Thunder to a strong position in the Western Conference with the 1st seed. Additionally, the multiple first-round picks acquired have given the Thunder valuable assets for their ongoing rebuild.

The trade for Paul George illustrates the high-risk, high-reward nature of blockbuster NBA deals. While the Clippers achieved moments of success and maintained competitive relevance, the trade's overall impact has been mitigated by injuries and playoff underperformance. Conversely, the Thunder have significantly benefited from the trade, positioning themselves well for future success with a young star and ample draft capital.

In summary, the Paul George trade is a prime example of the complex calculus teams must navigate in pursuing championships. The Clippers' gamble brought them closer to their title aspirations but also underscored the challenges of building a sustainable contender through blockbuster trades.

4. The Mikal Bridges Trade: Reuniting The Villanova Quartet

Knicks receive: Mikal Bridges, 2026 second-round pick

Nets receive: Bojan Bogdanovic, unprotected first-round picks in 2025, 2027, 2029, and 2031, an unprotected pick swap in 2028, a top-four protected 2025 first-round pick via Bucks, and a 2025 second-round pick

In a headline-grabbing move during the 2024 offseason, the New York Knicks acquired Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets, completing their "Villanova quartet" alongside Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo. This trade aimed to bolster the Knicks' defensive capabilities and add more versatility to their lineup.

Mikal Bridges had a stellar 2023-24 season with the Knicks, averaging 19.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game while playing in all 82 games. His shooting efficiency was impressive, with a field goal percentage of 47.3% and a three-point shooting percentage of 38.2%. Bridges' defense remained a key component of the Knicks' success, often tasked with guarding the opposing team's best perimeter player.

The Knicks finished the regular season with a 50-32 record, securing the second seed in the Eastern Conference. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they were defeated by the Indiana Pacers in a tightly contested seven-game series (4-3). Despite the loss, the Knicks demonstrated significant improvement and cohesion, with Bridges playing a crucial role in their playoff push.

The acquisition of Bridges significantly enhanced the Knicks' defensive capabilities. Alongside OG Anunoby, who was acquired earlier in the season, the Knicks boasted one of the league's most formidable defensive units. This move allowed the Knicks to maintain flexibility with their draft assets, as they still hold several future picks to potentially pursue additional trades.

For the Nets, this trade marks a shift towards rebuilding. The draft picks acquired provide valuable assets for future transactions or rebuilding efforts. Bojan Bogdanovic offers immediate roster depth and scoring, but the true value lies in the draft capital that will help the Nets reshape their team for the future.

The Mikal Bridges trade highlights the strategic decisions teams make to balance immediate success with long-term planning. The Knicks' acquisition of Bridges surely will be beneficial, enhancing their playoff performance and solidifying their defensive identity. The Nets, meanwhile, have positioned themselves well for a rebuild, acquiring valuable assets that can help them build a competitive team in the coming years.

5. Brooklyn Nets Gambled For Glory With James Harden

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (4)

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Nets receive: James Harden

Rockets receive: Caris LeVert, Rodions Kurucs, three unprotected first-round picks (2022, 2024, 2026), four first-round pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027)

Pacers receive: Caris LeVert (via Rockets), second-round pick

Cavaliers receive: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

In January 2021, the Brooklyn Nets went all-in, trading for James Harden to create a superteam with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. This trade shook the NBA, setting Brooklyn up for a title run but at a significant cost: Caris LeVert, Rodions Kurucs, and a slew of first-round picks and swaps. The Rockets received a treasure trove of picks and sent LeVert to the Pacers. Meanwhile, the Cavs benefited by snagging Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince.

Harden didn't disappoint. He averaged 24.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 10.9 assists per game, quickly adapting to his new team. The Nets finished the regular season with a strong 48-24 record, clinching the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Harden's playmaking and scoring provided a new dynamic to Brooklyn’s offense.

Despite their regular season success, the playoffs were a roller coaster. Harden, Durant, and Irving all struggled with injuries. Harden missed multiple games due to a hamstring injury, and the Nets' title hopes were dashed in a dramatic seven-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Durant's heroics pushed the series to the limit, but the absence of a fully healthy trio proved too much to overcome.

For the Nets, the Harden trade was a high-risk, high-reward move. The trade instantly made them title contenders, but injuries have so far prevented them from reaching the ultimate prize. Harden's presence did elevate the team, but the heavy toll of draft picks and young talent will be felt in the future as he suddenly left on his second season with the team.

The Rockets received a massive haul of picks, setting them up for a rebuild. They quickly flipped Caris LeVert to the Pacers for Victor Oladipo, who was then traded to Miami for additional assets. The Pacers benefited from LeVert, who became a key player despite facing health challenges. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, found a gem in Jarrett Allen, who has developed into one of the league's premier young centers and a cornerstone for Cleveland's future.

The Harden trade epitomizes the high-stakes nature of NBA transactions. For the Nets, it was a gamble for immediate success that showcased their potential but also highlighted the fragility of building around star power with injury concerns. The Rockets, Pacers, and Cavs all capitalized on the trade, acquiring assets that have helped shape their respective futures. As Brooklyn starts to rebuild itself, this trade remains a pivotal chapter in their quest, illustrating both the promise and peril of going all-in on a superteam.

6. The Russell Westbrook Shake-Up In Houston

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (5)

Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Rockets receive: Russell Westbrook

Thunder receive: Chris Paul, 2024 first-round pick (protected 1-4), 2026 first-round pick (protected 1-4), 2021 pick swap (protected 1-4), 2025 pick swap (protected 1-20)

In July 2019, the NBA world was buzzing when the Houston Rockets pulled off a blockbuster trade to reunite Russell Westbrook with James Harden. They sent Chris Paul and a bunch of draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a move that aimed to shake things up and push the Rockets over the championship hump.

Westbrook didn't waste any time making his presence felt in Houston. He averaged a whopping 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game during the 2019-20 season. The Rockets finished the regular season with a 44-28 record, snagging the fourth seed in the tough Western Conference. Westbrook's explosive athleticism added a new dimension to the Rockets' offense, making them one of the most entertaining teams to watch.

The playoffs, though, were a bit of a roller coaster. The Rockets made it past the first round but hit a wall against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round, losing the series in five games. Westbrook had some strong moments, but the Rockets couldn't match the Lakers' depth and star power. The team's lack of size and defensive issues became glaring problems, and injuries didn't help their cause either.

For the Rockets, this trade was a big swing. They were betting that the Westbrook-Harden duo could bring a championship to Houston. It brought a lot of excitement and some fantastic highlights, but it also exposed the team's weaknesses. On the flip side, the Thunder got a fantastic haul. Chris Paul turned out to be a great leader for OKC, guiding them to a surprise playoff berth and mentoring their young players. Plus, the draft picks set them up nicely for the future.

This trade was like a roller coaster ride—thrilling, full of highs and lows, and leaving everyone a bit dizzy by the end. For the Rockets, it was a bold move that brought some immediate excitement but also a fair share of headaches. The Thunder, meanwhile, came out looking pretty smart, with a stash of picks and a solid veteran in Chris Paul to lead their young squad. Whether this trade ends up being seen as a win or a loss depends on how these teams capitalize on their respective situations in the next few years. For now, it's a classic example of the unpredictable, high-stakes world of NBA trades and its devastating results sometimes.

7. The Suns' Power Play Trading For Kevin Durant

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (6)

Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Suns receive: Kevin Durant, T.J. Warren

Nets receive: Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, four unprotected first-round picks (2023, 2025, 2027, 2029), and a 2028 pick swap

In February 2023, the NBA world was stunned when the Brooklyn Nets traded Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns in a massive deal. This move instantly transformed the Suns into serious contenders by pairing Durant with Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton. The trade came shortly after the Nets traded Kyrie Irving, signaling a major shift in Brooklyn’s strategy.

Kevin Durant made an immediate impact despite dealing with an MCL sprain. He averaged 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. The Suns finished the regular season with a 45-37 record, securing the fifth seed in the Western Conference. The Suns had a promising start in the playoffs, defeating the Clippers in the first round. However, their journey ended in the Western Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the Denver Nuggets in six games. Durant's performance was strong, but the team struggled with depth and cohesion issues, which ultimately led to their elimination.

Durant continued to be a key player for the Suns this season. He maintained his high level of performance, averaging 27.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game throughout the campaign. The Suns, after moving Deandre Ayton for Juuf Nurkic and Chris Paul for Bradley Beal, ended the regular season with a 49-33 record, showing no improvement after two massive deals and clinching the sixth seed in the Western Conference. As they faced the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round, the Suns discovered how much of a cohesive team they lost this season.

For the Suns, this trade was about winning immediately. Durant’s addition brought immense star power and offensive capabilities, but it came at the cost of young talent and future draft picks. The Suns now have a limited window to capitalize on this core group’s potential before facing long-term repercussions from the trade's hefty price.

8. A Gamble For Dejounte Murray In Atlanta

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (7)

Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Hawks receive: Dejounte Murray

Spurs receive: Danilo Gallinari, 2023 first-round pick (from Charlotte), 2025 first-round pick (unprotected), 2027 first-round pick (unprotected), 2026 first-round pick swap

In the summer of 2022, the Atlanta Hawks executed a blockbuster trade to acquire All-Star guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs. The Hawks believed that Murray's defensive skills and playmaking abilities would complement Trae Young's scoring prowess, forming one of the league's most formidable backcourt duos. Murray was coming off a stellar season, averaging 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 9.2 assists per game, which earned him his first All-Star selection.

Despite the high hopes, the trade came at a significant cost. The Hawks parted with Danilo Gallinari and three first-round picks, including unprotected picks in 2025 and 2027, as well as a 2026 first-round pick swap. This substantial investment raised eyebrows across the league, with many analysts questioning whether Murray alone could justify the steep price tag. Critics argued that while Murray's talent was undeniable, the loss of multiple first-round picks would hinder the Hawks' ability to build a sustainable contender around Young.

Financially, Murray's contract was favorable, with two years remaining at a reasonable $34.2 million, including $16.5 million for the 2022-23 season. However, the long-term implications of forfeiting valuable draft assets became a point of contention, especially if the team's performance did not meet expectations. The trade put immense pressure on the Hawks' front office and coaching staff to deliver immediate results. Moreover, Murray's contract extension, signed shortly after the trade, further added to the financial burden on the Hawks' payroll. With a four-year, $114 million deal, Murray's performance has been solid but not at a level that justifies both the trade assets given up and the sizable contract.

Going into the 2024 offseason, the Hawks have yet to achieve the playoff success they envisioned with Murray and Young leading the backcourt. The team has been competitive, but early postseason exits have continued to plague Atlanta. The substantial draft capital given up in the trade has limited the Hawks' flexibility to make further significant roster improvements. If the team fails to make deeper playoff runs in the near future, this trade may be remembered as one of the most overpaid deals of the last decade.

9. The Bulls' High-Stakes Bet On Nikola Vucevic

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (8)

Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls receive: Nikola Vucevic, Al-Farouq Aminu

Magic receive: Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., 2021 first-round pick (top-4 protected), 2023 first-round pick (top-4 protected)

In a bold move to accelerate their rebuild, the Chicago Bulls acquired Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic in March 2021. Vucevic, a two-time All-Star, was expected to provide an immediate boost to the Bulls' playoff aspirations with his impressive averages of 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game at the time of the trade.

The Bulls parted ways with Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and two first-round picks, signaling their intention to compete immediately. While Vucevic's offensive and rebounding capabilities were clear assets, the heavy price paid raised questions. The two first-round picks, both top-4 protected, were significant, especially for a player who had not previously led his team to playoff success.

Financially, Vucevic’s contract was relatively manageable, but it limited the Bulls' flexibility for additional moves. Critics worried that the trade could hinder Chicago's long-term growth by sacrificing future assets for short-term gains.

Three seasons later, the Bulls have experienced mixed results with Vucevic. While he has been productive individually, the team has yet to achieve the deep playoff success they hoped for. The forfeiture of valuable draft picks has constrained their ability to build a more balanced and competitive roster. If the Bulls do not reach higher levels of postseason success soon, this trade may be remembered as an overpaid gamble that did not yield the desired results.

Must-Mention

The Nets Iconic Franchise-Altering Move

Nets receive: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, D.J. White

Celtics receive: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, 2014 first-round pick, 2016 first-round pick, 2018 first-round pick, 2017 first-round pick swap

Although this trade happened in 2013, its impact on the recent histories of both the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics was profound, making it essential to include in any discussion of significant NBA trades. The Brooklyn Nets, under new ownership and eager to make a splash in the league, decided to acquire aging stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics. The aim was clear: to build a championship contender quickly. The addition of Jason Terry and D.J. White was seen as supplementary, but Garnett and Pierce were the main attractions.

The cost, however, was substantial. Brooklyn sent a package of players, including Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries, along with three future first-round picks (2014, 2016, 2018) and a pick swap in 2017. This trade was seen as a high-risk, high-reward move. Garnett and Pierce were past their primes but still capable of contributing at a high level. The hope was that their experience and talent would mesh well with the existing roster and propel the Nets into title contention.

Initially, the results were promising. The Nets made the playoffs and even won a first-round series against the Toronto Raptors in 2014. However, they were quickly eliminated in the second round by the Miami Heat. The following seasons did not go as planned. Garnett and Pierce’s performances declined, and the team struggled to find cohesion and consistency. By 2015, both players had left the team, and the Nets were left with little to show for their gamble.

In stark contrast, the Boston Celtics thrived. Utilizing the picks acquired from Brooklyn, the Celtics drafted key players such as Jaylen Brown in 2016 and Jayson Tatum in 2017. These young stars became the cornerstone of a new era of Celtics basketball, leading the team to multiple deep playoff runs, establishing Boston as a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference, and finally conquering the Larry O’Brien trophy this past Finals.

This trade is often cited as a cautionary tale. While the Nets aimed for immediate success, the high cost and the swift decline of their acquired stars left them in a precarious position. Meanwhile, the Celtics’ patient approach and savvy use of acquired assets set them up for long-term success. This deal significantly reshaped the trajectories of both franchises, underscoring the risks associated with trading future assets for short-term gains.

This article first appeared on Fadeaway World and was syndicated with permission.

9 Most Overpaid Deals In The Last 10 Years Including Mikal Bridges And Rudy Gobert (2024)
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