30 NBA players who were traded before becoming stars

Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady
Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady / Lisa Blumenfeld/GettyImages
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17. Joe Johnson

Multi-time NBA all-star Joe Johnson first played for the Celtics after he was drafted 10th overall back in 2001. However, he played just 43 games with Boston before being traded to the Suns, where he became a crucial early part of the "Seven Seconds or Less" Suns. Johnson provided knockdown shooting and perimeter defense for the Steve Nash-led Suns team that won 62 games and went all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

Despite that, his time in Phoenix was short-lived. After three seasons, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal that included Boris Diaw. There, Johnson emerged as a star, leading the Hawks to five straight playoff appearances while making six consecutive all-star teams.

Those teams had a ceiling as a second-round playoff team, partly due to "Iso-Joe," who was good enough to lead a team to the postseason but unable to carry them to the Conference Finals. That led to him being dealt to the Brooklyn Nets, where he would make yet another all-star appearance in his early 30s before transitioning into being more of a role player. He had stops in Miami, Utah, Houston, and finally back in Boston before retiring at 40 as a sure-fire Hall of Famer.