- Here’s a list of NBA players who won a title after going to another team.
- Kevin Durant leads the list.
Legacy talks and the pressure to win a championship have forced several NBA superstars in the league to team up with other superstars and play for other teams in the hopes of finally lifting the prestigious Larry O’Brien trophy.
This player movement became evident in the past decades as more stars have forced their way out of their current teams or have signed to a contender through the free agency market and further improve their chances in the NBA championship odds. Such moves received various criticisms but ultimately paid the biggest dividend of a title.
Here’s a list of five NBA players who won a title after transferring to another team, either via trade or free agency.
Kevin Durant – 2017 Golden State Warriors
After nine unfruitful years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, which left him empty-handed, Kevin Durant made the jump to the Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2016. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green already in the loaded roster, Durant’s decision to join was scrutinized for choosing the easy path.
But the 2014 NBA MVP was unfazed about the negative remarks and went on to win back-to-back NBA Championships along with back-to-back finals MVP honors in 2017 and 2018. For his last year before his departure, Durant once again guided the team to the NBA Finals, but due to various injuries suffered, they lost to the Toronto Raptors in six games.
Anthony Davis – 2020 Los Angeles Lakers
In 2012, New Orleans selected Anthony Davis as their number one NBA draft pick. Davis had a spectacular run with the team as the building block and the face of the franchise. However, due to the inability of the front office to surround him with key players to win, the ‘’Brow’’ demanded to be traded away and granted his wish in the 2019 offseason.
Davis was shipped to the Lakers for three players and several first-round draft picks. The 6’10 power forward teamed up with LeBron James, and the duo spearheaded the championship run, which saw the title drought of the franchise come to an end after their 2020 NBA Finals triumph over the Miami Heat in six games inside the Orlando bubble.
Jrue Holiday – 2021 Milwaukee Bucks
Another former Pelican has tasted his first NBA title after getting traded as Jrue Holiday helped the Milwaukee Bucks win the 2021 NBA title after they acquired him in November 2020. Prior to his stint with New Orleans, Holiday was selected by Philadelphia as their 17th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
The 6’3 point guard spent eleven seasons combined with the Sixers and Pelicans before the Bucks set their sights on him in the hopes of finding the perfect playmaker to complement Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. His arrival has solved the woes of Milwaukee and ultimately led to the franchise’s second title in 50 years.
Danny Green – 2019 Toronto Raptors and 2020 Los Angeles Lakers
Since entering the league as a late second-round draft pick in 2009, Danny Green has become a reliable three-point shooter and a wing defender to fit any team. This style of play allowed Green to win three NBA titles with three different teams. His first championship was in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs.
He won his second title in 2019 when he was part of the Toronto Raptors, who halted the three-peat bid of the Golden State Warriors. Green was in his first year with the team after being part of the Spurs-Raptors trade revolving around Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. After signing with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent, he collected his third ring in the following season.
Steve Kerr – 1999 San Antonio Spurs
Steve Kerr was an effective backup guard during his playing career in the NBA. He finally found his footing when he joined the Chicago Bulls in 1994 and was part of the team’s three-peat in 1996-1998. Kerr even hit the championship-clinching shot in the 1997 NBA Finals after Jordan passed him the ball in the game’s dying seconds.
But after the last dance in 1998, the Bulls team finally disbanded due to MJ’s retirement, and Kerr traded to the Spurs. His championship experience was an integral part of the team, and he helped them with the franchise’s first NBA title. Although he was only limited to just over 16 minutes per game, he still averaged a decent number of 4.4 points, 1.1 assists and 1.0 rebound per game in his maiden season.
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