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5 NBA Youngsters Who May Eventually Play the Villain Role

Zach HarperContributor IIIAugust 15, 2012

5 NBA Youngsters Who May Eventually Play the Villain Role

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    Over the last two years, we've seen LeBron James and Dwight Howard incite, not just the ire of a single city, but the discontent of fans all over the league with their refusal to stay with the team that drafted them.

    James had his "Decision" that infuriated fans enough that they burned his Cleveland jerseys and spilled into the internet with vitriol and ill wishes. Dwight Howard could've learned from LeBron's mistakes but instead chose to carry out his own dramatic venture for far longer than ever needed to be.

    Dwight went through the process of trying to get his coach fired while hemming and hawing at the idea of sticking around in Orlando past his current contract. After deciding to not exercise his early termination option in the 2012 offseason, Dwight had back surgery, missed the rest of the season plus playoffs and then decided he wanted to be traded again.

    This obviously isn't the first time we've seen this and it probably won't be the last, much to the chagrin of fans everywhere.

    Let's take a look at the five young players who could end up following in these footsteps in a few years. 

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    There have already been rumblings of Kevin Love not being willing to stick it out in Minnesota. Let's review how we've gotten to this point and where it could eventually go:

    - Kevin Love asked for the five-year, max contract the Wolves had available to offer him for his extension right after the lockout.
    - The Wolves refused to give it to him and offered a four-year, max deal.
    - David Kahn even brought the offer to Love in the weight room, where Love allegedly crumpled up the offer and stormed out.
    - Love ended up signing an extension for four years but made the Wolves include an opt-out clause after the third year.
    - Timberwolves fans lost their collective excrement.
    - Kevin Love made noise about how the Wolves needed to win now and he wouldn't tolerate anymore losing after another season of missing the playoffs and getting destroyed in April.

    Despite the spin that may be...well...spun through the media, there appears to be quite the disconnect between Kevin Love and David Kahn. Kahn's reputation hasn't exactly been stellar during his time with the team and his relationship with Love could be oftentimes described as "tense."

    Love begged the team to give him a five-year contract, which would help avoid another mid- to small-market team from losing their franchise player. Instead, the five-year max was kept in order to try and entice Ricky Rubio to stay once his rookie deal is done.

    Now the clock is ticking for the Wolves to put a winning team around Love. The additions of Rubio and Adelman coupled with the improvement of Pekovic last season showed signs of growth before injuries derailed their Cinderella moment.

    Now, they've attempted to reload with depth this offseason to round out the roster with a number of quality players the franchise has never seen.

    If it works, they could indeed keep Love from bolting to greener and warmer pastures. If it doesn't work, losing Love will probably make it nearly impossible to keep Rubio once his deal is up. This could make or break the next 10 years of the Wolves franchise. 

John Wall, Washington Wizards

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    If John Wall's patience is wearing thin after his two years with the Washington Wizards, it's hard to blame him.

    He was saddled with the likes of Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee (although he could really blossom over the next couple years) and Nick Young to begin his career.

    Now after management decided to ship out the troublemakers and bring in some veterans to help him win this year, he's stuck with Randy Wittman as a coach. Wittman hasn't exactly elicited comparisons of Red Auerbach during his various head coaching stints around the league.

    If John Wall bolts at the first chance he gets, he won't receive the same hatred and irrational thinking the likes of LeBron James had thrown his way. However, it could backfire on him in some way, since he was a highly-anticipated prospect coming into the league.

    Wall was a star when he was in high school. He made the internet buzz with YouTube clips that sent lots of people into a tizzy. When he was introduced to Kentucky basketball, he had his own dance movement begin.

    And while he's been good in the NBA, he hasn't been this revolution to the point guard position that some assumed he would be.

    John Wall's potential departing from the Wizards wouldn't be looked at as a betrayal necessarily, but it could be people turning on hype that never fully materialized. There could be claims of him not being good enough to win on his own, which are often the silliest of accusations because nobody in this league can win on their own.

    Wall could just end up being another guy looking for a light at the end of a tunnel that isn't an oncoming train. It's possible people will understand his plight with the Wizards, but it doesn't mean the masses will accept him bolting if he winds up on a super team.

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

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    In a couple years, there will be a lot of pressure on DeMarcus Cousins to stay in Sacramento.

    Cousins showed last year that the glimpses of his potential dominance were more likely to happen than for him to become a headcase/bust. He's often the biggest and strongest guy on the court and his ability to dominate inside will only grow as he learns how to use his physical advantages.

    The Kings thought they had their franchise guy when Tyreke Evans had a historic rookie season. After an injury-filled sophomore season for Evans, Cousins emerged as the new beacon of light for the team.

    Cousins' potential departure would not only set the Kings franchise back a decade, but it could also mean the end of basketball in Sacramento if the city and NBA don't find a way to smack some sense into the Maloof family.

    With the Sacramento Kings having one foot out the door in California's capital and the lively and frantic fanbase desperately fighting to keep them in town, Cousins' eventual stardom could be a big cog in getting the Kings to stay in Sacramento for an arena deal that even the Maloofs can't weasel their way out of.

    Cousins has all of the makings of a star in this league. From his ability on the court to his personality off the court, he would thrive in just about any market during this age of social media.

    The good thing about the prospects of Cousins staying in Sacramento after his rookie deal is the Kings have not only saved the five-year, max deal for him, but he also seems to really enjoy being there. Maybe that will change if the team can't turn around their fortunes on the court, but as of right now, he looks to be the guy in town.

    Getting new ownership could keep the Kings in Sacramento, Cousins in this franchise's plans and make DeMarcus only a villain to the other 29 teams around the NBA. 

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Do we have to start wondering if Cleveland will be able to keep its next star?

    After LeBron James left in 2010, it wouldn't shock me if this franchise and fanbase had a little bit of fear regarding the possibility of Irving one day walking out that door. A year ago, people were still trying to figure out where this team was headed after a horrible season post-LeBron.

    Then Irving stepped into Cleveland's life and took the NBA by storm. He wasn't just the best player on the team; he was quickly becoming one of the best point guards in the league. Irving shined through clutch moments and left little doubt that he was a) going to take the big shot and b) probably make it.

    After a spectacular rookie season, the Cavs now have direction with Irving taking over the role of the team star. They can build around him, surround him with a lot of talent and see where he takes them. They don't need him to be LeBron James by any means. They just need him to continue to build on what he's already shown he can do.

    But there will be a time in which the issue of his impending free agency will come up and both sides will have to answer those questions. Irving and LeBron apparently have a good relationship, and if Maverick Carter finds a way to brainwash Irving into following his PR advice, we may have another decision on our hands in a few years.

    Clearly the way to stop this from happening is to put subliminal messages about why Kyrie shouldn't listen to or take the calls of Maverick Carter. Put it on the radio. Put it in advertisements on billboards. And just whisper into his ear at night when he's sleeping to avoid Maverick at all costs.

    Most likely though, Cavs fans have nothing to worry about. 

Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

    The Dwightmare isn't over until he signs his new contract with the Lakers.

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