10 NBA Stars Who Currently Hold Most Leverage over Their Teams

Roberto Payne@@HouseofPayne555Contributor IDecember 24, 2012

10 NBA Stars Who Currently Hold Most Leverage over Their Teams

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    NBA stars have immense leverage over their respected franchises, but which 10 stars hold the most leverage?

    Names like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul immediately come to mind as franchise-altering players.

    However, they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to powerful players.

    Several other high-profile superstars have immense leverage within their franchises.

    Read on to see which 10 NBA stars currently hold the most leverage over their teams.

Carmelo Anthony

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    Want proof Carmelo Anthony has immense leverage over his teams? Look at how the whole Denver situation ended.

    Melo desired to play for New York and got his wish after plenty of Melodrama.

    This situation, along with Deron Williams' trade situation during the same time frame, showed just how powerful true superstars are in the NBA.

    On the Knicks, Melo is the unquestioned best player and a huge reason why the team is off to such a fantastic start.

    He has dramatically improved his ability to get his teammates involved in the game, and the Knicks' record reflects that.

    However, if Melo wanted to, he could dramatically change the landscape of the Knicks' future.

    Imagine what the Knicks would be without him.

    They would be Tyson Chandler, a hurt Amare Stoudemire and a whole bunch of shooters. Not to mention a much lower playoff seed and definitely not a title contender.

    Melo's clutch scoring and improved team play are too crucial for the Knicks to lose.

Dwight Howard

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    Dwight Howard is another superstar who forced his way out of his former destination.

    I'm sure most of you remember the whole Dwight-mare saga last season and just how much it harmed the Orlando Magic all year.

    Was he going or was he staying? It was the talk of the league, and he eventually forced his way onto the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Howard got what he wanted, and the Magic ended up with a lackluster team.

    In other words, just another superstar with immense power.

    There's no doubting that Dwight is the best center in the NBA, and that leads to considerable power over whatever team he's on. In this case, that's the Lakers.

    Howard is a free agent after this season, and all eyes will be on L.A. to see if the Lakers keep their eventual face of the franchise.

    One thing's for sure: All the balls are in Dwight Howard's court.

Kyrie Irving

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    Kyrie Irving took over a Cleveland Cavaliers team decimated by the departure of superstar LeBron James and instantly became, by far, the best player on the team.

    His Rookie of the Year campaign provided excitement to the Cavs fanbase, and Irving quickly established himself as a top-tier NBA point guard.

    Irving rode that performance to almost making Team USA this summer and has stepped up his game another notch this season, all the while increasing his importance to this franchise.

    For a franchise still smarting over the departure of James, Irving is the new hope and a figure to build around. This is such a position of power that Cleveland is revolving the entire team around him.

    While this is a great idea from a basketball standpoint, it also puts a great deal of power in Irving's hands.

    He could hold the organization hostage if he wanted to. And really, what would it do? Not listen to its best player and future of its franchise? Of course not. It can't afford to lose Irving.

    In my opinion, Kyrie Irving is one of the most powerful players in the entire NBA.

Kevin Durant

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    Kevin Durant is the exception, not the rule, of how franchise players are supposed to act.

    He's humble, smart, a gym rat and a good-natured young man.

    He does all the right things and, at merely 24 years old, is already one of the very best players in the world.

    The ceiling for this guy is never-ending, and his importance to the Oklahoma City Thunder can not be understated.

    However, all his talent and worth to the team has put him in a position of power within the franchise.

    So far, it hasn't hampered the franchise, but there's no telling what will happen in two or three years.

    Will Durant continue to be the person he is now? The guy that took a pay-cut when he signed his extension. Or will he develop into a superstar concerned more with himself?

    Everything points to Durant staying true to what got him to this point, and he very well could continue to be the exception of how franchise players are supposed to act.

    Personally, I hope Durant stays himself because the league needs a humble star like him.

Chris Paul

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    Chris Paul is yet another superstar who exercised his power to be traded from his former team.

    Paul used that power to be traded from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers and changed the future of both franchises.

    For the Clippers, Paul provided a dramatic change of culture for a team that had been stuck in losing ways.

    Along with Blake Griffin, Chauncey Billups and DeAndre Jordan, Paul helped make the Clippers into a serious contender.

    However, Paul never received similar backlash that Dwight Howard and LeBron James received during their own sagas. If anything, that's a testament to his status in the NBA.

    The dramatic increase in wins for the Clippers came with increasing Paul's leverage over the franchise.

    Not only is the team nowhere near as solid without Paul, it's also unimaginable to break up Lob City.

    Paul is an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the Clippers would be wise to re-sign the best player on his team. Although it won't come cheap.

Rajon Rondo

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    Rajon Rondo is a fantastic all-around player and a rare superstar who stayed with his team.

    Rondo started out his Boston Celtics career slowly because of the presence of veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, but that hasn't stopped Rondo from becoming a dynamic point guard.

    His worth can't be derived from merely his stats because of the immense influence he has on the team's game-plan and execution.

    This is even more prevalent considering the Celtics are an aging team that has already handed the franchise over to Rondo.

    If Rondo were to become upset with Boston, the franchise would be in serious trouble.

    Who would replace him? Nobody on the roster is talented enough, and it would be tough to get equal value for Rondo in a trade.

    The only trade I could think of that might work out is a Rondo for Russell Westbrook deal. However, that's extremely unlikely to happen.

    Either way, Rajon Rondo has the future of the Celtics in his massive hands.

Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant is one of the best scorers in NBA history and has held considerable power over the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his playing career.

    Bryant has dramatically altered the landscape of the NBA and, even in his mid-30s, is one of the very best players in the league.

    The fact that Kobe has a no-trade clause is the ultimate proof that he had immense power within the organization.

    For Kobe, the Lakers are his team and will continue to be until he chooses to retire.

    That means he can change the path of the team simply by taking a walk into Mitch Kupchak's office and having a talk with the team's GM.

    It's almost inconceivable to have the Lakers make any major rosters moves without consulting with their best player.

Kevin Love

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    Kevin Love hasn't quite got on the level that Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony did when they requested trades, but Love has expressed his discontent with the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise.

    This isn't a good sign for the T-Wolves, and they certainly can't afford to lose the best player on the team.

    Love is a rare postman who can stretch the defense with his three-point stroke and continue to rebound at an outstanding clip.

    He has developed from a pudgy rookie to a superstar power forward in such a short time and has altered the path of the franchise.

    With Love, the Timberwolves may be playoff contenders in the crowded Western Conference. Without Love, the team will be headed to the lottery every year.

    Love has played his way into this position of power and has considerable leverage over this smaller-market Minnesota squad.

Derrick Rose

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    Like Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose is included in the rare class of humble NBA superstars.

    Just watch this video from the Adidas Rose 3.0 launch. If that doesn't prove how humble this guy is, then I don't know what will.

    Rose is a Chicago guy through and through and has done everything for his family and city.

    He has become a beacon of hope for the Chicago Bulls franchise and the player who they will build around for many years to come.

    All this responsibility comes with significant power, but D-Rose looks ready to lead the team.

    However, if there was ever a time when he became unhappy with the organization, Rose could destroy the future of the franchise.

    He has that kind of hold within the organization and city.

LeBron James

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    You knew he would be on this list.

    LeBron James is the most powerful player in the NBA today, and it's really not even close.

    He showed just how powerful he was throughout the "Summer of LeBron" and the debacle that was "The Decision."

    He held a franchise hostage for over a year in regards to his future with it and made the monumental choice to take his talents to South Beach.

    No franchise in recent memory has lost more in one offseason than the Cleveland Cavaliers did when they lost LeBron in his prime.

    No player has quite as much leverage over his team, nor does another player contribute more to his team.

    In short, LeBron is the best player in the world and has the talent to change the future of whatever franchise he plays for.

    Now, imagine just how crazy it would be if LeBron didn't want to play for the Miami Heat anymore.

    Every team would put together its best package for the Heat and pray that Micky Arison was dumb enough to accept.

    The pandemonium to secure his services would be ridiculous, and he would, once again, alter the landscape of the NBA.

    That's what comes with being the NBA's predominant superstar.