There's a very real possibility that one or both of James Harden and Russell Westbrook at some point in the near future, despite insistence from the Rockets that neither guy is going anywhere if the franchise's requirements in a deal aren't satisfied.
This would mean that one or two practical locks for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame — both have a 99.9 percent Hall of Fame probability according to Basketball Reference — could be moved in one season. It's not unheard of for Hall of Famers to get dealt away from a certain team, though, as you'll soon find out from the list below. Whether it was before they had blossomed into the talent they'd eventually be remembered for, or during their prime, or after their best years were behind them, these nine legends were all parts of trades during their NBA careers.
All stats and trade information retrieved from Basketball Reference.
Traded by the Seattle SuperSonics with a 1989 first-round draft pick to the Bulls for Olden Polynice, a 1988 second-round draft pick and a 1989 first-round draft pick.
Pippen, right after the Sonics took him fifth overall in the 1987 draft, was shipped off to Chicago, who immediately reaped the benefits. In his rookie season, Pippen played in nearly every game and became a starter by the time the playoffs rolled around. By year two, he was a key starter and had emerged as the next-best option after Jordan. By year three, he was an All-Star, and by year four, he was an NBA champion.
Polynice, who was the eighth overall selection in that same 1987 draft class, became a starting center at his peak throughout the 90s but never quite lived up to his top-10 pick status. He stayed in Seattle until a 1991 trade sent him to the Clippers in addition to two other first-round picks, and the Sonics got notable draft bust Benoit Benjamin in return. Considering the Sonics were one of the best teams in the NBA throughout the early 1990s, one can only wonder how they might have fared with Pippen lining up alongside Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.
Traded by the Charlotte Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac.
In one of the worst mistakes an NBA team has made throughout league history, the Hornets decided to part ways with their No. 13 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft in exchange for proven big man Vlade Divac, who had averaged a very respectable 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game over the past three seasons. And while Divac immediately helped to bolster the Hornets' lineup — they went 54-28 in 1996-97 and 51-31 in 1997-98 — they didn't re-sign him past two seasons.
Bryant, on the other hand, doesn't need much of an explanation. The Black Mamba is one of the best players in NBA history, winning five rings with the Lakers and earning 18 All-Star elections over the course of his 20-year career.