30 NBA players who were traded before becoming stars

Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady
Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady / Lisa Blumenfeld/GettyImages
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4. Dirk Nowitzki

NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki spent all 21 seasons of his career with the Dallas Mavericks but was actually drafted by the Bucks. However, he was famously traded on draft night in a deal for Robert Traylor. That deal, of course, is one of the worst in history since it gave Dallas a revolutionary player who helped change the NBA.

Dirk's remarkable shooting touch for a big man helped lead to an increase in stretch-fours around the league and eventually stretch-fives. Still, no one has quite touched his shooting ability. He could pick and pop, making it harder for bigger, slower defenders to contest his shot while also being able to take them off the dribble and attack the basket. When guarded by a shorter player, he could take them to the block and use his devastating turnaround fadeaway jumper to get his shot off.

The results were impressive, to say the least. Dirk is one of just seven players to score at least 30,000 points and the only international player to do so. It's safe to say that had the Bucks kept Dirk, they wouldn't have been largely irrelevant for most of the late 1990s and 2000s.  Big mistake.