3: Dumping assets for a post-prime Charles Barkley
This is without a doubt one of the worst trades in Houston Rockets history and hindsight has me wishing this one was an April Fools joke. On the surface, trading for a Hall of Famer and a legend seems like a great move.
The Rockets were coming off back-to-back championships and were wanting to capitalize on this momentum and shoot for their third. So, they shipped off four players who played vital roles in those two championship victories in Sam Cassell, Robert Horry, Chucky Brown, and Mark Bryant for Charles Barkley.
In adding Barkley, the Rockets boasted a starting lineup that consisted of three of the best 50 players of all time with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler already on the team. Unfortunately, this trio began to age and the team never lived up to what many thought it would.
Clyde the Glide retired just a couple of seasons later, Barkley retired after the 1999-00 season and the Rockets traded Hakeem after the following season. The potential was never reached and the team was far worse off than what it was after its second championship.
Brown and Bryant didn’t amount to much after they left Houston but Cassell and Horry are what make this April Fools joke worthy. Cassell piloted many successful teams and won another championship with Boston. Big Shot Bob went on to play an integral role on many championship teams. Who knows how many championships could have been brought back to Houston if those four guys weren’t swapped for Barkley.