30 NBA players who were traded before becoming stars

Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady
Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady / Lisa Blumenfeld/GettyImages
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29. Elton Brand

Elton Brand was taken first overall back in 1999 by the Chicago Bulls, shortly after the Jordan era had ended. He was expected to lead them to their next great era but was shipped to the LA Clippers just two seasons later in a deal that landed Chicago Tyson Chandler. While Chandler would go on to be a good player, it would take him years before that happened, and not for the Bulls.

Meanwhile, Brand became a star in LA, averaging more than 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game over seven seasons with the Clippers. He even made two all-star teams despite playing in a stacked Western Conference that featured four Hall of Fame big men: Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, and Dirk Nowitzki.

The Clippers had limited success with Brand, though he did lead them to the second round of the playoffs, something that few players had done in the pre-Lob City era. Brand eventually moved on, signing a six-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, but that proved to be one of the worst contracts in NBA history and injuries forced him to transition to being a more active player before the age of 30. Still, Brand had a good and long career and the Bulls probably regret trading him.