#5) The Detroit Pistons trade Tayshaun Prince
The 2004 Detroit Pistons were one of the strongest teams in NBA Finals history. Their mid-season acquisition of Rasheed Wallace pushed them to their first NBA championship since the days of Isiah Thomas in 1990. The powerhouse lineup of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, and Ben Wallace led Detroit to two more consecutive appearances in the ECF (and two more still without Big Ben).
Slowly, but surely, the team disintegrated with time. In 2006, Ben signed with the Chicago Bulls. In 2008, Chauncey was traded to the Denver Nuggets, while Sheed signed with the Boston Celtics. In 2011, the Pistons waived Rip, who was then signed by the Chicago Bulls. Tayshaun was the youngest member of the team that revived Detroit, and he lasted nearly 11 years in Motor City.
He was the last remaining piece of a bygone era in NBA history. I don’t think anyone foresaw his departure. Tayshaun is the archetypal embodiment of a role player. Night in and night out he is good for 11 or 12 points and 4 or 5 rebounds, which is why Memphis had their eye on him. At 33 years old, the news of his trade was a surprise even to him. With the additions of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, next year’s Pistons look drastically different, but would still have been recognizable with trusty Tayshaun.