7 of the Biggest—and Most Shocking—Trades in NBA History


The greatest—and most shocking—trades in basketball history have catapulted teams to championships and long-term success. Here are seven of the biggest deals in NBA history:

1. April 30, 1956: St. Louis Hawks Trade Bill Russell to Boston Celtics

7 of the Most Stunning NBA Trades, Bill Russell & more

Bill Russell, shown with Celtics coach Red Auerbach in 1956, won 11 NBA titles in Boston.

The Rochester Royals passed over Russell with the first overall pick in the 1956 NBA draft, figuring the former University of San Francisco star’s commitment to play for the U.S. Olympic team would cause him to miss the start of the season. The Royals  reportedly were also leery of the salary demands of Russell—only the Celtics, Fort Wayne Pistons and Harlem Globetrotters, the barnstorming team, were believed willing to pony up.


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