The weirdest thing about the NBA draft is the longstanding practice that once draft day comes, there’s no more trading draft picks. It makes some sense within the framework of the league rules and salary cap, but every year, it results in weird situations where a player is drafted by a team that he’s never going to play for, but has to put on that team’s cap for photos, and is officially that team’s draft pick until the trade is finalized. Sometimes the player knows he’s getting traded in advance, sometimes it comes as a surprise a few minutes later, but it’s always super awkward.
This could be easily solved by the NBA changing one very specific part of its own rules, but until that day comes, we’ll still get these quirky occurrences, as well as a chance to wonder… what might have happened had those trades never gone through?
In that spirit, here are all of the draft picks since 2000 who were immediately traded, then went on to become All-Stars, leaving those teams that drafted them to wonder what might have been.