6. Kiki Vandeweghe
Vandeweghe was drafted by the expansion Dallas Mavericks in 1980, but he refused to play for the franchise, so they traded him to Denver. It did not take long for the 6’8 forward to become one of the best scorers in the league. In his second season, he averaged 21.5 points per game, and it jumped to 26.7 in year three as Vandeweghe became an All-Star. He almost scored 30 a night in 1984 in his second All-Star season.
After his fourth year in the NBA, the Nuggets traded Kiki to the Portland Trail Blazers in a shocking move. Vandeweghe was a fan-favorite and one of the league’s best scorers, but Portland made them an offer that the Nuggets could not turn down.
Denver had been to the playoffs three straight years, so giving up Vandeweghe was not easy. Still, getting back Fat Lever, Calvin Natt, Wayne Cooper, and two draft picks was just too sweet to decline. It worked out as the Nuggets reached the conference finals in 1985.
Vandeweghe averaged over 20 points per game for four straight years after leaving Denver, but Portland advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs just once. The 6’8 forward continued to be productive, and the Denver Nuggets would have loved to keep the fan favorite if the Trail Blazers had not blown them away with their trade offer. Kiki returned as general manager of the Nuggets in 2001.