- Here's a list of the biggest Detroit Pistons trades in franchise history.
- Bill Laimbeer leads the list of players Detroit received through trade.
- Other notable players the Pistons acquired were Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, and Blake Griffin.
The Detroit Pistons have been one of the pioneer teams in the NBA since the franchise was founded in 1949. They were based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for their first nine seasons before moving to Detroit in 1957. Since relocating to Detroit, the team has won three NBA titles in 1989, 1990, and 2004. However, in the past decade, they experienced a rebuild and have been finding ways to improve their basketball odds of winning another title.
They have received multiple lottery picks and got involved in trades but recently have not been able to contend. Despite the forgetful campaigns of the franchise in recent years, Detroit managed to pull off big-time trades that changed their fortunes and even helped them win a title. Here’s a look at the top-four biggest trades in Pistons history.
One of the most notable players that Detroit received via trade was Bill Laimbeer. He was included in a deal with the Cavaliers in February 1982 with Ken Carr for Phil Hubbard, Paul Mokeski, one first-round pick, and one second-round pick. The trade resulted in the duo of Laimbeer and Isiah Thomas, plus the birth of the notorious “Bad Boy Pistons.” The 6-foot-11 center also became the anchor of the team inside the paint.
The Bad Boy Bill Laimbeer did some big work on the boards in Game 1 of the '90 Finals. pic.twitter.com/MvTrjXCD2v
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) April 23, 2020
Laimbeer was a vital player to the team, as they reached three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and won back-to-back in 1989 and 1990. Because of his double-double output of 13.5 points and 10.1 rebounds for Detroit in 937 games across 12 seasons, he was selected to four All-Star Games (1983, 1984, 1985, and 1987). Laimbeer is still the franchise’s all-time leader in rebounds with 9,430.
After seven seasons, Detroit moved on from their 1994 third overall pick Grant Hill and traded him to the Orlando Magic for Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins in August 2000. The trade was a huge gamble for the Pistons, as they gave up one of the most dynamic scorers in the league. But it paid dividends because “Big Ben” became an integral member of the 2004 championship team.
Because of his solid defensive game, Wallace helped Detroit appear in eight straight playoff runs from 2002 to 2009 and back-to-back NBA Finals in 2004 and 2005. Wallace and the Pistons defeated the star-studded Lakers in 2004 in one of the top NBA Finals upsets in history. The 6-foot-9 center also tied the record for the most Defensive Player of the Year awards with four and became one of the top four undrafted NBA Players in history.
The Pistons’ 2004 NBA title run was not complete without the services of sweet-shooting power forward Rasheed Wallace. He was acquired in a big three-team trade with the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics during the 2004 trade deadline. It proved to be an important move for the team, as “Sheed” immediately became a starter and impacted both ends of the floor.
In his first 22 games in a Detroit jersey, Wallace averaged 13.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.0 blocks in 30.6 minutes. After their title run in 2004, the 6-foot-11 forward continued to play for the team for five more seasons, where they reached the playoffs; however, they failed to win another title. Wallace finished his stint with the Pistons with 13.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.
The end of the “Lob City” era for the Los Angeles Clippers saw its superstar Blake Griffin being traded to the Detroit Pistons in January 2018. Detroit reached a deal with Los Angeles to acquire Griffin, Brice Johnson, and Willie Reed for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick.
The Clippers and Pistons have agreed on a deal to trade Blake Griffin for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round and a second-round draft pick, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 29, 2018
Griffin’s arrival at the Palace completed the team’s goal of trading for a bona fide superstar, and this helped end their playoff drought. Sadly, Griffin was a shell of his prime from the Clippers days, as he suffered multiple injuries. “B.G.” played 138 games for Detroit across four seasons and accumulated an average of 20.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. The 6-foot-9 high-flyer bought out his contract with Detroit in 2021 and signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
4 Biggest Detroit Pistons Trades
|Year||Player Acquired||Trade Details|
|1982||Bill Laimbeer||Pistons received: Bill Laimbeer and Ken Carr / Cavaliers received: Phil Hubbard, Paul Mokeski, one first-round pick, and one second-round pick|
|2000||Ben Wallace||Pistons received: Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins / Magic received: Grant Hill|
|2004||Rasheed Wallace||Pistons received: Rasheed Wallace and Mike James / Celtics received: Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter, 2004 first-round pick and cash compensation / Hawks received: Bobby Sura, Zeljko Rebraca, and Chris Mills|
|2018||Blake Griffin||Pistons received: Blake Griffin, Brice Johnson, and Willie Reed / Clippers received: Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick|
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