An interesting question appeared in my basketball fantasy league the other day. As soon as news broke, Carmelo was signing with the Blazers, you know there was a sucker that would pick him up (Hi Karlo). Karlo sent a screenshot of Carmelo’s profile and asked why does it say he’s with the Bulls??
At first, I dismissed it to an error in the system that would soon be corrected. Then I remembered the Rockets didn’t cut Carmelo; they traded him – that must be it. I went on Basketball-Reference and confirmed my vague memory. Carmelo was traded to the Bulls, and the Rockets shipped him and Jon Diebler to Chicago for 1.56 million and a player. Could you name that player?
Let me help you out. He was Drafted in 2008 by the Jazz. In 2012 the Jazz traded him to the Mavericks in a four-team trade (yep, those still happen from time to time). After two years, the Mavericks traded him to the Bulls for Greg Smith. Then in 2019, he would be traded for Carmelo to Houston. Still nothing?
Probably because he didn’t spend a second playing professional basketball in the NBA. Tadija Dragičević was drafted by the Jazz in 2008, was a part of four trades in 11 years, and all that time he was playing basketball in Serbia, Italy, Ukraine, Turkey, France, Montenegro, and Greece.
In addition to players and draft picks, teams can also trade draft rights. That opens up a lot of space for maneuvers like these, using second-round picks from the past to meet trade requirements. I guess as long as he doesn’t retire, his draft rights can be traded.
I’m not going out on a limb to say he will never play in the NBA, but at least Dragičević can always say a team traded a Hall of Famer for him.