There was a hiccup in the Indiana Pacers’ trade for Caris LeVert after an MRI discovered a small mass on his left kidney. The promising 26-year-old swingman, who was a vital piece of the massive James Harden blockbuster trade earlier this week that took the NBA by storm, will be out indefinitely.
It initially looked like LeVert was heading to the Houston Rockets in the James Harden trade, but he wound up going to the Pacers in the deal, with Victor Oladipo heading to the Rockets instead. The versatile two-way player is indeed a star on the rise, averaging 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6,0 assists, and 1.2 steals in his final 12 games in Brooklyn.
This health situation is scary, but the trade went ahead anyway, with the Pacers getting another second-round pick out of the deal.
While the Pacers are keen on keeping the budding star and will wait for his recovery, some traded players in the past didn’t have the same fate in this type of situation. Teams were quick to nix what were initially deemed as done deals after players failed their physicals.
Let’s recall four of the most notable voided trades in the NBA due to medical concerns.
Thunder send Tyson Chandler back to Hornets in 2009
The New Orleans Hornets were supposed to unload Tyson Chandler to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a haul that included Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith, and draft rights to DeVon Hardin.
OKC was really looking forward to adding the defensive-minded center to a core featuring Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Jeff Green.
As Chandler was just settling into his new situation, news broke that OKC would be rescinding the deal due issues concerning the 7-footer’s left big toe.
OKC’s resident team physician at the time, Dr. Carlan Yates, reportedly advised against keeping Chandler since there was a great risk of re-injury to give him a clean bill of health.
“This is absolutely crazy. I’m super shocked. This is nuts,” Chandler described the situation in an ESPN report.
Making things even more bizarre for Chandler was that he was bothered by a different injury at the time and felt no toe pain.
Pistons rescind trade for Donatas Motiejunas in 2016
After impressing for the Houston Rockets, Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton were acquired by the Detroit Pistons back in the 2015-16 NBA season in a three-team trade that also included the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lithuanian big was getting set to make his Pistons debut when doctors revealed that he failed his routine medical test.
Making this more controversial was the fact Motiejunas claimed Detroit purposely made him fail that physical since the team suddenly got a change of heart about the deal. The Pistons were supposed to give the Rockets a protected first-round pick in return.
“The medical examination is a funny thing,” Motiejunas said. “The team doctor simply says whether you pass or don’t, although they may not even do any checks. Those 48 hours actually just let the team decide whether it wants a player or not. The Pistons announced I did not pass the medical, although I surely did pass it and played even before it.”
Motiejunas returned to H-Town soon after and finished the season with the Rockets.
Nets void acquisition of Shareef Abdur-Rahim in 2005
The Nets, who were still in Newark at the time, thought they had a reliable player in Shareef Abdur-Rahim when they acquired him from the Portland Trail Blazers.
The one-time NBA All-Star, however, would never suit up for the team after he failed his physical.
The deal was just put on hold at first as both sides tried to come up with a compromise.
The Nets initially did not disclose the nature of the medical problem, but reports later indicated that they believed Abdur-Rahim had issues with his knee.
The 6-foot-9 forward has since claimed that the knee was a non-issue and he never missed a game in his career for that reason.
Sean Elliott stays with Pistons after Rockets nix trade in 1994
Sean Elliott is a beloved figure in San Antonio, but he could have actually played for the rival Houston Rockets in 1994.
The 6-foot-8 forward was with the Pistons in ’93-‘94 and was supposed to be moved to H-Town in exchange for Robert Horry and Matt Bullard.
Houston refused to push through with the deal following reports that Elliot was deemed unfit during his medicals. To this day, the Rockets have not revealed the exact issue that led them to return Elliott back to the Pistons.
All three players eventually returned to their respective teams before Elliot rejoined the Spurs the following year.