An awful trade that came back to haunt the Detroit Pistons

San Antonio Spurs forward Dennis Rodman against the Portland Trail Blazers at Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports
San Antonio Spurs forward Dennis Rodman against the Portland Trail Blazers at Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons have made some bad trades over the years, but one of the worst ones has largely been scrubbed from fans’ memories.

It’s rare that a trade is so completely bad from the outset, but also comes back to haunt the team in the distant future, but that’s exactly what happened when the Detroit Pistons traded for Sean Elliott of the San Antonio Spurs before the 1993-94 season.

The trade was dubious from the beginning as Detroit was giving up Dennis Rodman, who at the time was arguably their best player. Rodman helped San Antonio get to the Western Conference Finals before going to the Bulls and winning three championships, so he obviously had plenty left in the tank.

Related Story. The 10 worst trades in Detroit Pistons' history. light

Sean Elliott, on the other hand, had the worst season of his career for the Detroit Pistons before being unceremoniously dumped for nothing after it was revealed he had an ongoing kidney condition.

So the Pistons traded one of the best defenders and rebounders of all time for a guy who they knew had a kidney problem (reportedly) who they then had to dump back to the same team for the rights to Bill Curley and a lowly second-round pick.

Talk about getting fleeced. The shady Spurs knew he had this condition (so did the Pistons apparently) and were able to squeeze a very good player out of him in the trade before getting him back for nothing anyway just in case you needed more reasons to hate the San Antonio.

Elliott then had two of the best seasons of his career as the Detroit Pistons stood around with their pants down. But that wasn’t the end of how this trade haunted Detroit.

The Sean Elliot trade just kept hurting the Detroit Pistons

Before it was publically revealed that Elliott had a potentially career-threatening kidney condition, the Detroit Pistons tried to flip him to Houston for Robert Horry, Matt Bullard and two second-round draft choices.

Ironically, the trade fell through because Elliott didn’t pass his physical, which is when the information about his condition became public. It would have been nice if the Pistons’ doctors had done that kind of due diligence.

So the trade was voided and the Pistons had to settle for giving Elliott back to the Spurs for practically nothing.

Talk about a what if!

This is the same Robert Horry who eventually landed on the Spurs and ended up hitting one of the most devastating shots in Detroit Pistons’ history, the game-five winner that put the Spurs up 3-2 and probably cost the Pistons a second title.

So when you are talking horrible trades for the Pistons, this one has to get mentioned, as it not only cost them Dennis Rodman, but they only got one year from a player who was phoning it in in an effort to get back to San Antonio, which he did.

Not only that, but his condition cost the Pistons a chance to grab a great role player in Horry who ended up killing them years later. Detroit also got the added gut punch of watching Rodman win three titles with their most hated rival of the era.

It’s a trade not many people think about anymore, but it was one of Detroit’s worst and kept hurting them for over a decade.

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