It is quite normal to switch teams or be traded a couple of times throughout your career. Some players, like Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan have managed to stay with one team throughout their entire career.
Some other players seem to be unable to stay with one team, and keep going to different teams. Nate Robinson has even once said that he would like to play for all 30 teams in the NBA. But, who are the players that have played for the most different franchises throughout their career?
Vince Carter – 8
Carter just began his 22th, and last season in the NBA. From the Toronto Raptors, to the New Jersey Nets, the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, and the Atlanta Hawks; Carter has seen quite some different teams throughout his career.
Even though Carter is already 42, the Hawks decided to re-sign him for yet another season this summer. Of course, Carter is not as effective on the court as he once was, but he’s still an important player on the court. The Hawks are still in their rebuilding phase, and Carter is the perfect veteran to show the young guys how it’s done.
Marco Belinelli – 9
Belinelli entered the NBA back in 2007 for the Golden State Warriors, and ended up playing 75 games for that team over the course of two seasons. In 2009, he was traded for the first time in his career, to the Toronto Raptors. One year later, Belinelli was sent to the New Orleans Hornets.
Then, the Italian guard signed with the Chicago Bulls for one season (2012-2013), signed with the San Antonio Spurs, where he stayed for the next two seasons (2013-2015) and won an NBA championship, before he signed with the Kings in 2015.
Thereafter, Belinelli was once again traded, this time to the Charlotte Hornets (2016-2017). The next summer, he was sent to the Atlanta Hawks. Even though Belinelli was waived halfway through the season, this turned out great for him, as he was able to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers. He was one of the most effective players off the bench, averaging 13.6 points on 49% shooting.
The following summer, Belinelli decided to return to the San Antonio Spurs, and has been playing there ever since.
Wayne Ellington – 9
Ellington has also played for nine teams in his career, but he has also been in the NBA for quite some while. Twice, Ellington was traded halfway through the season, once in January 2013, when he was sent from the Grizzlies to the Cavaliers, and once in February 2019, when he went from the Heat to the Suns. The first time, he finished the season with the Cavaliers, and signed with the Mavericks over the summer.
The second time, the Phoenix Suns waived him a day after he was traded, but Ellington signed with the Detroit Pistons soon after he cleared the waivers.
Garrett Temple – 9
Nine teams sound like quite a lot, but in Temple’s case it’s a bit more complicated. Temple went undrafted, but soon signed with the Houston Rockets, but he was waived before the season started. After a stint with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, he joined the Rockets on two 10-day contracts, playing nine games. Thereafter, he got a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings, playing five games. For Temple, the third time (or team) was the charm, as he signed yet another 10-day contract, this time with the San Antonio Spurs, who signed him for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately, the Spurs waived him before the next season really began, and he was forced to go back to the G-League. That season, Temple had two stints in the NBA, once on a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, and one with the Charlotte Bobcats. So, only two seasons in to his NBA career, and Garrett Temple had already played for five different NBA teams.
Then, he signed with a team in Italy, playing 28 games for Novipiu Casale Monferrato, before returning for the Summer League. There, he played for the Magic and Cavaliers, but eventually signed with the Washington Wizards. The next couple of seasons were fairly quiet, as Temple stayed with the Wizards for four seasons. The last few years, Temple played for the Kings, the Memphis Grizzlies, Clippers, and signed a two-year contract with the Nets this summer.
Trevor Ariza – 9
Ariza was drafted into the NBA back in 2004, and signed with his 9th team, the Sacramento Kings, this summer.
He played his first 2,5 season with the New York Knicks, and he even became the youngest player to ever wear the Knicks jersey and to play the most games and minutes as a rookie. In February 2006, he was traded to the Magic, followed by being traded to the Lakers in November 2007. In the 2009 postseason, Ariza even went on to help the Lakers win the NBA title. The next summer, he signed a five-year deal with the Houston Rockets, but after a year, he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets.
Two years later, he was traded to the Washington Wizards together with Emeka Okafor. In his place, Rashard Lewis and a future draft pick were sent to New Orleans. After that, he spent four more years with Houston (2014-2018), signed a deal with Phoenix, had another short stint with the Wizards in the 2018-2019 season.
Ish Smith – 11
Smith has played for eleven different teams throughout his career, and that is one team more than seasons (10). So far, Smith has been a member of the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers (2x), New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, and has now started the 2019-2020 season with the Washington Wizards.
To be fair, Smith spent the last three seasons (16-19) with the Pistons, playing a total of 219 games for the team.