The last NBA Most Valuable Player of the Year to get traded is Kevin Garnett.
Straight from high school, the 6’11 point-forward became the face of a Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. During that stint in the Western Conference, playoff wins were tough to come by. At that time, he was just under 20 years of age and the youngest player in playoff history.
In his first handful of seasons, the Houston Rockets won back-to-back titles, while the Seattle Super Sonics and Utah Jazz reached the NBA Finals. The next dozen years were dominated by the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers, who alternated representing the West in the finals and won a combined nine championships in that span. Only the Dallas Mavericks were able to knock them off, splitting a couple finals appearances. In the midst of playoff woes, Kevin Garnett became a familiar face in All-Star games, won a gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics, and captured an MVP award. Throughout his career he was compared to Tim Duncan from the Spurs, as they were the two best power forwards of their era (also considered two of the elite players at their position, of all time).
As for the past five years, Kevin Garnett was shipped to the Boston Celtics to bring back an Eastern Conference powerhouse. He was traded for seven players, the largest trade for a single player in NBA history. Most would tell you that they formed a big-three, but there is no doubt that point guard Rajon Rondo brought the Fantastic Four to Beantown. Garnett already had a history of making All-Defensive teams, and he took that to another level when he became Defensive Player of the Year during their championship year. The Celtics rekindled a historic rivalry against the Lakers, splitting their championship battles in 2008 and 2010, where they’ve collided a dozen times now.
Garnett’s playing days in Minnesota required him to be athletic and explosive in his youth. He’s either led the NBA in rebounds or ranked in the top tier for his entire career, not to mention his defensive effort with blocks and steals. The big man also got his teammates involved, hitting the occasional three, developing as an offensive point-forward and an all-around stud. In Boston his leadership and unselfishness shined on a team with publicity, reaping the success that will put him in the Hall of Fame someday.
His career averages are:
19.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals, 50% shooting, and 79% from the free-throw line.
His career accolades:
NBA Champion, MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, 15x All-Star, All-Star Game MVP, 4x All-NBA First Team, 3x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team, 9x First All-Defensive Team, 3x Second All-Defensive Team, All-Rookie Second Team, 4x Rebounding Champion, and he won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for outstanding service and dedication the community.
All NBA MVPs to get traded:
Guards: Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson
Bigs: Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Moses Malone (twice), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dave Cowens, Bob McAdoo, Shaquille O’Neal (twice), Kevin Garnett