Tom Haberstroh of ESPN ranked the most lopsided trade-deadline deals of the last decade, and the Pistons claimed the top spot (hat tip: Gmehl):
The only deadline deal over the past decade that significantly helped deliver a championship (sincere apologies to Nazr Mohammed, the San Antonio Spursstarting center in 2005-06). The Pistons acquired Wallace, a two-time All-Star at the time, from Atlanta in a three-team deal with Boston for some spare parts and two 2004 first-round picks that ended up yielding Josh Smith andTony Allen.
It’s rare to see a playoff-bound team acquire an All-Star-caliber player at the deadline without relinquishing a key member of its rotation. But the Pistons managed to pull it off, bolstering the core that took down the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers in five games for the title. The Pistons were 34-22 before hauling in Wallace and 20-6 the rest of the way, a .607 to .769 swing in the team’s win percentage.
While Wallace’s averages of 13.7 points and 7.0 rebounds may seem pedestrian, his impact on the defensive end can’t be understated. With Wallace, the Pistons allowed 78.9 points per game in the regular season, a nearly eight-point improvement from their previous mark with Mehmet Okur starting at power forward. In his six seasons in the Motor City, Wallace helped anchor one of the best defenses in NBA history while notching two All-Star campaigns. Not a bad deal, considering journeyman Lindsey Hunter was the biggest name going out the door.