Sports

25 Dramatic Sports Trade Sagas That Became Huge Messes

Darren - December 13, 2021
Sports

25 Dramatic Sports Trade Sagas That Became Huge Messes

Darren - December 13, 2021
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

11. Kyrie Irving

Irving was one of the most talented athletes in the NBA. He departed the Thunder in acrimonious circumstances. Their loss was Boston’s gain. Everybody thought he would stay with the Celtics for the long term but that’s not what happened. The Brooklyn Nets swooped in for his services because they wanted to build a super team. Celtics fans were furious but there was nothing they could do.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

However, his move to New York was an absolute disaster. He missed most of his first season with an injury. Then the Nets collapsed in the postseason the following year (via Clutchpoints). Finally, Irving refused a vaccination that ttate law required New York-based athletes to undergo as a mandatory requirement. This left the Nets without one of their most talented players. Irving constantly creates drama and trade sagas.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

10. James Harden

It took months, but Harden finally achieved the trade he wanted. The former Rockets star made it clear that he was done with the franchise in 2020. He demanded a move but Houston resisted. This was because he was their best and most important player. They built the team in his image and he was their most marketable athlete. However, after one of the biggest trade sagas of the summer, he moved North.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Houston didn’t make it easy for the Nets or Harden. There were even doubts over Harden’s final destination with other franchises mooted (via Bleacher Report). Then the player made his discontent clear to the media. Harden’s lack of a super agent made it more difficult to leave Texas than it could have been. But it showed a new, growing player power in the league. Finally, the deal was done.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

9. William Gallas

Gallas was one of the best defenders in the world during a long playing career. The former France international is the only player in history to appear for the three London giants: Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs. However, his move from the Blues to the Gunners was one of the messiest trade sagas ever. He wanted more money but Chelsea wasn’t prepared to pay him. Gallas effectively went on strike.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

He refused to play and even threatened to score own goals. This put him in an untenable position at the club. Finally, Chelsea sold him to Arsenal as part of a deal that brought Ashley Cole in the other direction. At the time, this was an extremely controversial move (via TalkSport). Gallas represented Arsenal with distinction for several years. But he showed no inhibition in moving to their arch-rivals, Spurs.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

9. Brett Favre

Favre is one of football’s greatest-ever quarterbacks. However, the end of his time in Wisconsin involved multiple retirement teases. Unfortunately for Favre, it reached a point where the Packers were ready to move on. They had Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings and finally decided to run with the youngster. This infuriated Favre, who didn’t overestimate his importance to the franchise.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Green Bay shrugged and pointed out that they didn’t make him retire. It was his decision but they were going with Rodgers. In the end, they traded him to the New York Jets. But he only lasted for a season in the Big Apple. The most dramatic moment of his time there was his lewd sexting scandal (via ABC News). After this, he moved to the Vikings for a couple of years before his final retirement.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Antoine Griezmann

French star Griezmann rose to prominence with Atletico Madrid. The dynamic forward offered superb flexibility across the front line. He helped them to win multiple trophies and attracted the gaze of Barcelona. The Catalan giants sold Neymar to PSG for almost $200 million. This ludicrous figure left them with money burning a hole in their pockets. So they went after Griezmann.

Mandatory Credit: Business Insider

Some trade sagas end quickly but this ran on for ages. Griezmann even signed a new contract with Atletico but he only stayed for another couple of years. Finally, Barcelona swooped and paid $160 million for his services. However, they struggled to fit him into their system and sent him back on loan to Madrid in 2021 (via Eurosport). It was a strange series of events because of the lack of foresight.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Kevin Durant

Durant is no stranger to trade sagas. First, he departed the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors. Most neutrals didn’t have a major issue with this because San Francisco is a bigger market. Meanwhile, Golden State usually has a better chance of winning than Oklahoma. However, his time with the franchise ended badly. They realized that he wanted to leave and agreed on a trade to Brooklyn.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

But Durant backed them into a corner. Finally, after complex negotiations, the deal was done (via SFGate). Brooklyn was the real winner because Durant was such a great athlete. Unfortunately, he exacerbated his reputation as one of the most hated players in the NBA. Durant is a player who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to pursue it. This can rub fans up the wrong way because they expect undisputed loyalty.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

6. Jadon Sancho

Sancho was one of the most exciting players in Manchester City’s academy. However, the teenager was concerned about his first-team prospects. He wanted guarantees over playing time before he signed a new contract. City refused so Sancho walked away and joined Germany’s Borussia Dortmund. This was a brave move for the young attacker because not many English players go overseas.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

It turned out to be a brilliant decision because he developed his game in the Bundesliga. Soon he was one of Dortmund’s most important forwards. After a while, Manchester United showed interest in the forward. It became one of the longest-running trade sagas of recent years. Three years later, he finally joined the Red Devils in 2021. They paid a cool $100 million for his services (via Sky Sports).

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Eli Manning

Manning joined the New York Giants in 2004. However, if the San Diego Chargers played their cards differently, we may have had another story. They selected the rookie with the No.1 overall pick but he refused to join. He even made it clear that he’d play another year of college football instead. Their record with young quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Ryan Leaf was appalling.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, the Giants were a much bigger market. This was one of those trade sagas that ran on and on. In the end, the Chargers selected him. But they traded him to New York in the next hour. It’s believed that Archie Manning played a key role in taking his son out of playing for the Chargers. Soon, they ended up with Philip Rivers, who was their starter for almost two decades (via CBS Sports).

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

4. Steven Gerrard

Some trade sagas roll on and on. Gerrard was Liverpool’s captain as well as their best player through tough times. He helped his hometown club overachieve in competitions like the Champion’s League. His performances were legendary and he attracted admiring gazes from across Europe. Even Sir. Alex Ferguson, manager of arch-rivals Manchester United, gave his respects.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

But Jose Mourinho took it to the next level. The Chelsea manager made his interest tangible. They bid for the Liverpool star on multiple occasions. In 2005 it looked like they would finally seal the deal. Gerrard wanted to win the league but only had a slim chance of achieving this with Liverpool. Finally, he decided not to leave and remained a hometown hero before a brief foray with L.A. Galaxy (The Guardian).

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Abdul-Jabbar is an NBA icon. He made his name with the Milwaukee Bucks before he starred for the Lakers. However, his manner of departure from Milwaukee was unfortunate. After winning the MVP award in the franchise, he wanted bigger things. But he wasn’t subtle in his desire to leave Wisconsin after six seasons. This included a famous championship win in 1970.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Then he told the media that Milwaukee wasn’t his ‘vibe.’ Ironically, his move to the Lakers came after they beat the Bucks in the final game of the season. Finally, after a long offseason, one of the most dramatic trade sagas of 1975  ended. Abdul-Jabbar spent 13 seasons with the Lakers and solidified his status as an NBA legend (via History.com). He also won five rings with the franchise.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Sam Darnold

Darnold was the Jets’ starting quarterback for three long seasons. They drafted him in 2018 after an impressive college career with USC. He was the youngest opening day QB starter of the modern era. Unfortunately, his time in New York saw more lows than highs. Adam Case deserves a lot of criticism because he was inept at building a team. Darnold had no protection and no opportunity to develop.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, he was mentally frazzled after a couple of seasons. Darnold infamously “saw ghosts” during one game against the Patriots. Finally, the whole sorry episode came to an end. One of the most miserable trade sagas of the modern era saw him move to the Panthers. There were questions over whether new coach Robert Saleh would keep him, but he pushed him out the door (via New York Post).

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Ben Simmons

It’s easy to forget where the breakdown between Simmons and the 76ers began. That’s because this is one of the messiest trade sagas ever. The relationship between the player and his franchise fell apart during the 2020 offseason. He opted not to shoot when there was a clear opportunity to dunk. Then, coach Doc Rivers tore him apart in front of the media. Simmons immediately demanded to leave.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The offseason descended into anarchy. Philadelphia fans are notoriously passionate so they didn’t have much sympathy for the star. He refused to train or play in practice games. It was clear that the pair were at an impasse. The only thing to do was agree on trade but this became extremely difficult. Simmons wanted to play for a team that valued him. Meanwhile, Philly wanted to receive his value (via Sporting News).

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