12. Maurice Lucas
Lucas played in the ABA before the merger, and he made his NBA debut with Portland in 1977 where he helped the Trail Blazers win a title in his first season. The Enforcer was an All-Star in each of his first three NBA seasons before being traded to the Nets midway through his fourth.
Lucas played just 90 games with New Jersey over 1.5 seasons where he averaged 14.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.0 block in 31.9 minutes per game. In the 1981 offseason, the Nets send Lucas to the New York Knicks for Ray Williams. The 6’3 guard averaged over 20 points per game in his lone season in New Jersey before he was traded to the Kings.
Lucas continued his stellar production for three more years, including being an All-Star with the Suns in 1983. The 6’9 big man averaged 16.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists over 232 games through the 1983-1984 season. The Nets made the playoffs in each of those years, and they would have benefitted from a strong big man playing next to Buck Williams.
Maurice Lucas played 14 years in the league and was a five-time All-Star. The Nets moved on too soon because they were searching for a lead guard to get them back to the playoffs.