6. Tiny Archibald
Archibald was a three-time All-Star and one of the best point guards in the league before arriving with the then-New York Nets in 1976. It cost them two rotation players and two first-round picks to acquire the fan-favorite. The Nets were in their first season in the NBA after the merger, and they were hoping Archibald would help the reigning ABA champs in their new league.
The 6’1 guard played just 34 games with the Nets because of foot injuries as the team won just 22 games. Almost exactly one year after acquiring him, the Nets traded Archibald to the Buffalo Braves for two first-round picks. He never played for the Braves after suffering an Achilles injury that forced him to miss the entire 1977-78 season.
In 1978, Archibald was traded to the Celtics where he made three All-Star appearances and helped Boston win the championship in 1981. He was the team’s starting point guard and lead ball-handler as Larry Bird and Robert Parish led the Celtics in scoring.
The Nets missed the playoffs in four of their first five years in the NBA, and that might not have happened if they kept Tiny Archibald. The 6’1 point guard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 and was unquestionably one of the best players of the 1970s.