Blake Griffin and 10 NBA Players Who Should Spend Entire Career with One Team
Player movement is the wave of the present for the NBA, which means a fan of any mid- to low-level team is always wary whenever their team ends up with a player who looks to be a budding star.
Questions always arise around how long this particular player will stay and how long they will be able to help their team at the level they play at.
This not so new development of players jostling around in free agency is the way of the game now, and with fewer players sticking with one team for the entirety of their careers; the norm has become moving teams at least once or twice in a good player's career.
However, I'm here to look at the guys that should stay in one place, whether it be for the fans of a particular team, what that player means to a team or just how it would look in the grand scheme of things should that particular player make a move.
There are a handful of players who fit this description, but I've narrowed my most intriguing down to 10 guys, from young to old fellows.
Why is it DeMar DeRozan is good enough to warrant an inclusion on this list? Basically because it seems like someone should be able to stick out their entire career with the Toronto Raptors at least once.
The Toronto die-hards are constantly wary of über-athletic players after both Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter bowed out of town so quickly at the beginning of last decade, and they deserve someone who can gut it out in town until the team builds something up.
DeRozan definitely isn't a Carter or a McGrady, but he's damn entertaining and someone the fans in Toronto have grown fond of, and they deserve to have one guy to hang their hats on.
What makes Andre Iguodala someone we should care about sticking to one team for his career? Hilarity, that's what.
Over the past four years or so, no other star player has had his name involved in so many trade rumors as Andre Iguodala.
After a murky few years in the middle of last decade, Iguodala improved enough to have a high price, but the Sixers always saw him as slightly more valuable than the rest of the market, and they never pulled the trigger on a trade.
It would be too funny to see him retire as a 76er, with a trade rumor coming year in and year out, of course.
The Miami Heat have built their team around superstars, a few role players and a bunch of old dudes, but Dwyane Wade is the constant.
Ever since 2003, Wade has been the rock of this franchise through thick and thin, through injuries to himself and others, through championships and 15-win seasons, and it would be too weird to see him without that flaming basketball on his jersey.
Should the Heat start to think of some funny business and put him on the market, it would be a strange day for basketball fans, as he's playing for the most hated team in the NBA, but Wade going elsewhere would be too strange.
The last player the people of Cleveland let themselves get attached to didn't exactly work out the way they had hoped, and even the last "truly" dedicated Cleveland Cavalier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, played a season elsewhere.
Cavs fans will irrationally dedicate themselves to one guy, throwing all of their love and support behind him as easily as Kyrie Irving can break down a defender, but it also allows for a bit of backlash should that player leave.
Cleveland may have some crazy fans, but they're as dedicated as they are crazy, and they deserve someone to hold dear for an entire career so long as the team treats him right.
Blake Griffin can already make an argument to be involved in the "greatest Los Angeles Clippers player of all time" conversation, but there's one argument he's already won. Blake is already the best draft pick they've ever made, in terms of immediate impact, at least.
Sure, Griff may have some holes in his game, but there is too much there to entertain the people of Los Angeles looking for a Lakers alternative. Basically, Griffin is a bug zapper, too tantalizing for people to resist, even if his game does have some flaws.
Really, that might be what makes Blake fit in so well as the face of the Clippers. He's not perfect and his knees are always threatening to knock a wheel off the bandwagon, but he's flashy and potent on offense, making him all the more intriguing to watch.
There is no way Danny Ainge would ever think of trading Paul Pierce...right? Basketball is a business, sure, but that's just going too far, even for Ainge, who has no problem breaking up a perfectly good team.
It's impossible to fathom Pierce in anything else but Celtic green, and even if the right package does float along at this point, the team should just walk on down the road past it.
Pierce is the next great player in a long line in Celtics history, and if he doesn't retire with this team, then it'll be a shame.
Where the Celtics have a long line of players who have spent their entire careers with the team, the Dallas Mavericks have nobody who spent all their days in Dallas and can see their jersey hanging in the rafters.
One day Dirk Nowitzki's "41" will hang in the rafters alongside the "15" and the "22" of Brad Davis and Rolando Blackman, and hopefully it won't be sullied by a year or two chasing another ring in New Jersey or wherever else he may see fit.
You can make the argument that Kevin Durant has already played for another team, but for purposes here, let's call it a wash. Durant was drafted by the team that is now the Oklahoma City Thunder.
What Durant is to the league and the old-school fans who get offended (and then ridiculed) any time a long-tenured superstar spurns his old team is the last beacon of hope, as cheesy as that may sound.
Durant is quietly loyal while overtly excellent on the court, making him one of the most intriguing players in the NBA today, and hopefully a resident of Oklahoma City for as long as he's dribbling a basketball.
It should be a foregone conclusion at this point that Kobe Bryant will sign one last good-sized contract with the Lakers in a few years and retire with the team that snaked him away from the Charlotte Hornets all those years ago.
Kobe allows people to argue between eras over who the best player in Lakers' history is, and at the rate he's going he could very well unseat Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the highest-scoring player of all-time. That and his five (and counting) rings could give some merit to his argument.
However, what will really be a punch in the gut to that argument would be if he went elsewhere to score 12 points a game for a few years after he turns 38 or 39 in order to break that record.
If he doesn't do it in Lakers gold, something just seems tarnished about it all.
Boring old Tim Duncan needs to take the boring old path to retirement and finish his days out with the boring old San Antonio Spurs. There is no other story that could even be written about Duncan.
What exists between Duncan and the Spurs goes beyond loyalty. They coexist on the same line in a plane, never varying too much to one direction without the other. It's not a question of loyalty here, there just doesn't exist a form of the San Antonio Spurs without Duncan, at least not in the past 15 years.
Breaking up Duncan and the Spurs wouldn't be like tearing apart a water molecule during photosynthesis, it would be more like nuclear fission and the resulting atomic blast.
That's right, the fallout of Duncan somehow playing for another team could kill hundreds of thousands of people, leaving others severely mutated from the radioactive fallout.
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