Knee injuries kept Andrew Bynum from ever playing a game for the Sixers after they traded for him in the Dwight Howard swap last August, and though that garners a lot of attention, it's not uncommon for players to fail to appear in a game for the team that acquired them. In fact, Bynum wasn't the only player in that trade not to play for his new team. Christian Eyenga went from the Lakers to the Magic, but Orlando wound up cutting Eyenga before the end of training camp last year.
Since then, 16 other players have either been waived, injured, bought out or traded again before checking into a game for the team that originally traded for them. Salary concerns are behind many of these instances, but in some cases, teams simply found they didn't have a use for one of the guys included as part of a larger package. In other cases, players agreed to give back part of their salaries to extract themselves from a team they didn't want to play for.
This accounting doesn't include trades involving draft rights, since those commonly change hands multiple times in short order on draft night. Sometimes, the rights to "draft-and-stash" players who are unlikely to ever appear in an NBA game are used as trade ballast, so such swaps aren't included here. The list starts with a swap that involved two players last month, neither of whom will be playing for the teams that traded for them.
- Donte Greene, Celtics: Boston waived Greene this week, a month after sending Fab Melo and cash to the Grizzlies for him.
- Fab Melo, Grizzlies: It took only 15 days for the Grizzlies to waive the player from their end of the Melo-Greene trade.
- Kris Joseph, Celtics: The Celtics waived Joseph three days after acquiring him as part of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett blockbuster with the Nets.
- D.J. White, Nets: Brooklyn also quickly dispatched of one of the players in that deal, waiving White six days after the trade.
- Caron Butler, Suns: The Bucks were one of the participants in the three-team trade that sent Butler to Phoenix in July, and they hooked up on another swap with the Suns in August to acquire the Wisconsin native.
- Marcus Camby, Raptors: The veteran center almost immediately expressed his displeasure with winding up in Toronto as part of the Andrea Bargnani trade, and Camby and agent Rick Kaplan engineered a buyout a week after the trade became official.
- Quentin Richardson, Raptors: The veteran swingman wound up with a three-year contract in a sign-and-trade as a component of the Bargnani deal, but only the first season was guaranteed. The Raptors will pay him that salary even though he won't be on the roster, since they waived him earlier this month.
- Kevin Murphy, Warriors: Golden State waived Murphy two weeks after acquiring him to avoid triggering a partial guarantee on his contract.
- Malcolm Lee, Warriors: The two-year veteran was one of the tools the Warriors used to spend a net of only $600K to acquire a first-round draft pick and secure the rights to Nemanja Nedovic. Golden State acquired Lee from the Warriors on draft night and, minutes later, sent him to the Suns.
- Leandro Barbosa, Wizards: Barbosa was already out for the season with an injured knee when the Celtics and Wizards made him a part of their deadline-day trade for salary purposes. His contract expired at the end of the 2012/13 season.
- Tyler Honeycutt, Rockets: The Kings sent their former second-round pick to Houston in the Thomas Robinson trade, and before the Rockets used Honeycutt in a game, they waived him to accomodate the signing of Aaron Brooks.
- Hakim Warrick, Magic: Orlando acquired Warrick at the deadline with the apparent intention of waiving him. The Magic did just that two days later.
- Hamed Haddadi, Raptors: The 7'2" center was traded twice last season, and though he spent nearly a month on the Raptors roster after they acquired him in the Rudy Gay trade, Toronto never put him in a game before shipping him to the Suns at the deadline.
- Josh Selby, Cavaliers: The former Kansas Jayhawk was one of three players who went to Cleveland in a salary-clearing move for the Grizzlies, but the Cavs wound up stashing Selby with their D-League affiliate in Canton before waiving him in March.
- Matt Carroll, Pelicans: An early-season swap sent Carroll to New Orleans, but the Pelicans bought him out a week later.
- Lazar Hayward, Rockets: The James Harden swap left the Rockets with an excess of players as opening night approached, and Hayward was one of the casualties as Houston trimmed its roster to meet the 15-man limit.