4 Biggest Philadelphia 76ers Trades

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James Harden at 2014 World Basketball Festival at 63rd Street Beach in Chicago.
(Wikimedia Commons/TonyTheTiger)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Nov 20, 2023, 1:14 AM
  • Here are the biggest Philadelphia 76ers trades in franchise history.
  • Wilt Chamberlain leads the list of players Philadelphia acquired via trade.
  • Other big names include Dikembe Mutombo, Moses Malone, and James Harden.

The Philadelphia 76ers were one of the 11 original teams when the NBA was founded in 1946, and because of this, they became perennial contenders in basketball odds almost every season. Also, the franchise built a solid and strong fanbase housing the second biggest NBA arena, the Wells Fargo Center. This basketball culture was made possible by drafting young players and trading for stars to bolster the team’s chances.

Among the two methods, trading for stars has had more success for the team, as their two championships were courtesy of big trades that acquired superstars, which included Wilt Chamberlain and Moses Malone. Aside from Chamberlain and Malone, who are other superstars that are considered part of the biggest trade additions by the decorated franchise? Find out the top-four list below.

Wilt Chamberlain

Topping the list is the acquisition of Wilt Chamberlain from the San Francisco Warriors in January 1965 in exchange for Paul Neumann, Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, and cash. This trade is arguably the best in team history, as they reunited with one of the best and most dominant basketball players in history and the player they drafted in 1959. Before Chamberlain’s homecoming to Philadelphia, he was traded to San Francisco in 1962.

In his second tenure as a Sixer, “The Stilt” steered Philadelphia to the promised land by helping them win a title in 1967, where he led the team in scoring at 24.1 points and rebounding at 24.2 boards, along with 7.8 assists per game. Chamberlain also won three straight MVP awards from 1966 to 1968 before suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers in the following season.

Moses Malone

Seventeen years later, after the blockbuster trade for Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia was able to snug another superstar center in Moses Malone from the Houston Rockets. The team traded away Caldwell Jones and a first-round pick for Malone, who was the reigning MVP. “Big Mo” instantly made his presence felt, by securing them the best record in the league and the top spot in the East with 65 wins and 17 losses during the regular season.

Malone was also named back-to-back MVP in the same year and capped off the perfect ending to the dream season by leading Philadelphia to another NBA title in 1983. The 6-foot-10 center paced the 76ers with his incredible output of 24.5 points, 15.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.3 assists. Following that championship run, Malone helped Philadelphia reach the postseason for three more years before playing for the Washington Bullets in 1986.

Dikembe Mutombo

Philadelphia’s love for centers continued in February 2001 when they traded with the Atlanta Hawks to acquire Dikembe Mutombo and Roshown McLeod for Toni Kukoc, Pepe Sanchez, Theo Ratliff, and Nazr Mohammed. The idea behind this trade was to fortify the team’s presence inside the paint and pair him with the team’s best player in Allen Iverson in the hopes of winning a title.

This trade deadline gamble turned out well for the Sixers because Mutombo became a vital piece to the team that reached the NBA Finals for the first time in 18 years. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Lakers, led by the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant duo, was too much for them to handle, as they were dealt a 4-1 series loss in the NBA Finals. Mutombo’s stay with the team was also cut short because, in 2002, he was also shipped by the team to the Nets in another big-time trade.

James Harden

The Ben Simmons drama that started in 2021 paved the way for Philadelphia to engineer a gigantic trade with Brooklyn in February 2022, where the 2016 first-overall pick was sent to the Nets for 2018 MVP and 10-time All-Star James Harden. In addition to “The Beard,” Philadelphia also received Paul Millsap for Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two future first-round picks.

Harden’s arrival to the team formed a dynamic duo with superstar center Joel Embiid. In their first two seasons together, they reached the second round of the playoffs; however, they couldn’t get over the hump in that round. Regardless, they became one of the most exciting tandems in the league. Harden has played 79 games for Philadelphia and produced an average of 21 points, 10.6 assists, and 6.4 rebounds.

Philadelphia 76ers Biggest Trades

Player AcquiredTrade DetailsYear
Wilt ChamberlainSixers received: Wilt Chamberlain / Warriors received: Paul Neumann, Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, and cash1965
Moses MaloneSixers received: Moses Malone / Rockets received: Caldwell Jones and a first-round pick1982
Dikembe MutomboSixers received: Dikembe Mutombo and Roshown McLeod / Hawks received: Toni Kukoc, Pepe Sanchez, Theo Ratliff, and Nazr Mohammed2001
James HardenSixers received: James Harden and Paul Millsap / Nets received: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two future first-round picks2022

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.