2024 NBA trade deadline: Why six-plus first-round draft picks for a star player could eventually happen

The Paul George to the LA Clippers deal holds the distinction for most first-round picks included in a trade. Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports

An unprecedented era of trade returns for NBA stars began in July 2019.

The LA Clippers agreed to trade five first-round picks and two pick swaps to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George.

That late-night stunner reset the market on what teams -- squeezed by a superstar trade demand or trying to get ahead of one -- might be able to not just demand but get.

As a result, the following years have seen an unprecedented run of All-Stars traded for huge pick and swap hauls.

Three days before the 2024 NBA trade deadline, when it's likely several future draft picks will be exchanged by 3 p.m. ET Thursday, it remains hard to judge how these megatrades worked because so many of the bills still haven't come due. And no franchise has experienced the sharpest end of the downside of the risk.