Rating Each NBA Superstar's Job Security
The NBA is ruled by superstars, whether we like it or not.
In no other sport is such a league controlled by the very players we pay to watch play. Players are valued more highly than coaches and general managers, and sometimes have a say whether they stay or go.
While superstars may run the league, however, they are also sometimes run out of town.
Be it salary issues, poor play or just wearing out their welcome, some superstars are moved for a variety of reasons, whether they like it or not.
For the following nine stars, here's how the security level for each stacks up.
Security Level: Very High
Deron Williams has had a rough year, what with the Brooklyn Nets' early struggles and his own fatigue problems on the court.
The Nets star has seen a decrease in his points, assists, field goal, three-point and free throw percentages from last season.
His 16.6 points per game are the lowest since his sophomore season in the NBA, way back in 2006-07.
So why won't the Nets consider trading him?
Williams is the face of the franchise who's undergoing a massive change in culture. The Nets need his face like they need Jay-Z's to help market the team and get attendance numbers up.
Consider this, last season before the move to Brooklyn and Deron William's max deal was signed, the Nets ranked dead last in attendance per game, per ESPN.com.
This season? Brooklyn has jumped up 16 spots to 17th overall, increasing by nearly 4,000 fans a game.
Williams isn't playing his best ball, but the Nets need his marketability almost as much as his game.
Security Level: High
Wade has been with the Miami Heat since they drafted him in 2003.
Ten seasons and two NBA titles later, Wade is the franchise's best player of all time and still producing at a very high level.
Wade, who will turn 31 on January 17, is averaging 20.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists a game as of January 7. Not without his share of wear and tear, Wade is still one of the best guards in the league today.
Security Level: Very High
Anthony has the New York Knicks in second place in the Eastern Conference and is playing his best basketball in years.
Averaging nearly 30 points a game, Anthony and the Knicks are made for each other. A primetime player in one of the brightest spotlights, Carmelo and New York look to be a lasting combination.
While the same can't be said for Amar'e Stoudmire, the Knicks will not part with Anthony, as he's too valuable from a player and commercial aspect.
Melo in New York is too good to fall apart now.
Security Level: Medium
Howard is set to hit the free agent market this summer, and his future in Los Angeles is anything but certain.
The NBA's best center, Howard is still recovering from offseason back surgery and hasn't been his usual dominating self.
A few teams, like the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks, will have the cap space to try to sign a player like Howard this offseason, even though the Lakers would seemingly be the most attractive destination long-term.
If Dwight and the Lakers continue to struggle this season, is a trade of the big man completely out of the question?
I don't think so, and neither should L.A.
Security Level: Extremely High
The NBA's best player, James and South Beach have gotten along pretty well the past few years.
James is the reigning league MVP and a favorite to win the award again this year, as he's leading the Heat to the top of the Eastern Conference once again.
While there was talk in the past of breaking up the big three and possibly trading a player like James or Dwyane Wade, these talks should be all but dead. James is the biggest franchise-changing player in the game today, and would be nearly impossible to get equal value for.
Able to opt out of his contract in 2014, James will certainly be in a Heat uniform until then and likely much longer.
Security Level: Extremely High
Durant is 24 years old, a three-time scoring champion and is under contract until 2016.
Let's move on.
Security Level: Low
Kevin Love is growing tired of the Minnesota Timberwolves, but could they also be growing tired of him?
While Love has made comments towards the franchise some would consider less than flattering, he's also put together a string of injuries this season in what was supposed to be the Timberwolves breakout year.
Now out several weeks with a broken right hand, Love isn't winning over any fans in Minnesota right now.
Love is probably the best overall power forward in basketball, but if his string of complaints and injuries continues, a trade may be best for both parties involved.
Security Level: High*
It's hard to argue against Paul as the MVP of the league right now.
The Los Angeles Clippers have the best record in the NBA as of January 7 at 27-8. They're winning by an average margin of 8.8 points per game, the highest mark in the league.
While others have certainly contributed, the show in L.A. starts and ends with Paul.
While the security level he should have with the Clippers is high, the security they have with him could be another story. Paul has turned down extensions from the team in the past and will be a free agent this summer.
Conventional wisdom says he stays, but crazier things have happened in NBA free agency
Security Level: Mamba High
Kobe Bryant can probably remain a Los Angeles Laker for as long as he wants.
He's the highest paid player in basketball, has more rings than any other current player and is leading the NBA in scoring at 34 years of age.
Bryant has this season and next left on his contract, and at nearly $30 million a season, he will not be traded. He simply isn't as valuable to any other franchise.
Bryant's future with the Lakers will be addressed in the summer of 2014, when he becomes a free agent and has mentioned the possibility of retirement.
Until then, Bryant's stay with the Lakers is his to choose.