LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, John Stockton, David Robinson, *checks notes* Bradley Beal.
This roster of stars – and one not quite on the same level – makes up one of the most elite and eclectic groups in NBA history: the lone players With full non-trade clauses in their contracts.
When Bale signed his maximum five-year contract worth $251 million last week to remain a witch in Washington, he became the only active member of that club—James and Milo had no no-trading clauses in previous contracts, but not anymore. Two-time MVP and one-time MVP Giannis AntetconI don’t have one mpo. Nor did Nikola Djokic do best player twice. Not even Finals player of the year and four-time champion Stephen Curry.
Three-time only All-Star and 2021 All-NBA Third-Team member, Bradley Emmanuel Bell, Sr., is a magician throughout his career to date, who has never made the Eastern Conference finals and has never even received One MVP voice.
So this begs the question: Why aren’t non-trade clauses more common in the NBA? Why don’t other players fight to implement it in their contracts to avoid the risk of shipping too far?
Well, the answer is pretty simple: in the NBA today, the superstar himself will likely want to get out before the team is ready to dump him. Players in the league today have shown less loyalty and commitment to their teams, not hesitating to jump ship when the season isn’t quite going their way.
And while an NBA title will always be a great accessory to these stars’ legacy, the way they achieve it has ruined the basketball game.
Take Kevin Durant, for example.
He is one of the most talented scorers in NBA history, and elevates any team to the championship level. He’s also a player who hasn’t been shy about wanting to leave when the season doesn’t end the way he had hoped.
He did so in Oklahoma City, when he joined the Golden State Warriors, who went 73-9 the previous year. He then left the Warriors to form his super team in Brooklyn with Kyrie Irving (and later James Harden). And now, he’s publicly demanding that the Nets ship him to a team of his choosing, though there’s nothing in his contract that gives him any say in that decision.
People say, “Another star won’t want to come if the nets don’t handle the KD order right.” I guess teams shouldn’t want KD for how he is dealing with it. Or, there should be additional language in those NBA contracts that prevents a player like Durant, who just signed a four-year extension last August, from holding the franchise hostage in the first place.
So here’s my suggestion: a player signing a contract should have a maximum of two forms of no-trade clauses. One clause states that he has to stay with the team for a certain number of years on his contract. And there is a clause that if he asks for a deal when those years are up, the team has to choose from a list of his favorite teams.
MLB has a similar and successful base that has been implemented called 10 and 5 rights This means that if a player has spent 10 years in the league and five years with the same team, he is eligible to turn down any deal a team throws at, and can basically choose where he wants to go if he wants to change the scene.
So why does this work for both sides?
Well for starters, the team can sign a star with the expectation that he will stick to at least some of their contracts. Because if they are not, they will be left to go where the team decides to send them (and they can get the biggest return).
And after “taking their time”, they first have a clear choice to stay – after five years they should have a good sense of what they like and don’t like. And if not, they will have the ability to research the commercial market and find what works best for them. Really win.
Now, that might take some of the excitement out of the NBA offseason, where nothing lives at random, a July day like “Wojbomb“He says a star wants out. But that’s about the only negative thing in terms of the league product. And the positives can dramatically change the basketball game for the better.”
Teams will be able to build from within. Draft and free agency (and of course deals that don’t include superstars) will be the backbone of the league. You won’t be able to shop for any superstar you have the pieces to trade in, and you’ll have to build your own. Through your scouting team. Through your development team. Through your coaching staff.
The NBA isn’t going to be the league where you struggle to remember which team the star plays for, because they’ll be in it to some extent in the long run.
And teams that may not be exactly “super destinations”, won’t feel neglected. Because without the ability to trade for a star, the draft (and future choices) are far more important.
Yes, superstar deals are exciting. It’s exciting to see the returns and to think about proposing great players to join forces. But this is not the way to do it.
At some point this season, the team will likely give up everything they have (beyond their best player) in favor of Kevin Durant. May they give all stars. They may give a few promising young talents. And they will definitely give up the shots. Lots and lots of first-round picks.
While at the moment, it’s going to be fun. And maybe for a team relegated to Durant it’s as fun as the day they won the championship (unless they haven’t yet – I’m looking at you, Phoenix), this would be just another example where the NBA failed to make a star player beat and try to win the The team that built it.