30 NBA players who were traded before becoming stars

Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady
Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady / Lisa Blumenfeld/GettyImages
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24. Marc Gasol

Memphis Grizzlies legend Marc Gasol almost wasn't had it not been for a trade involving his brother. Pau Gasol was traded from the Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that included the draft rights to his younger brother Marc. Marc wasn't a highly coveted prospect at the time and was a second-round pick who previously battled weight and mullet issues before rounding into shape and emerging as a skilled big man for the Grizzlies.

With Gasol in the fold, Memphis went from being a failed expansion team that was forced to relocate to the States to a perennial playoff team that even went to the Western Conference Finals. In 11 seasons as a member of the Grizzlies, he averaged 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game, made three Western Conference All-Star teams, and won Defensive Player of the Year.

He was later traded to a contender, giving him the chance to finally win a championship, which he did with the Toronto Raptors in 2019. Ultimately, while the Lakers landing Pau Gasol was a much-maligned trade, the Grizzlies did get fair value, with Marc Gasol becoming one of the best players in franchise history. A rare win-win trade.