It’s a refrain you hear all too often in today’s money-driven sports world: Why don’t more stars stay with the team that drafted them?
Some leave town looking for bigger paydays, Others, a better shot at a championship. Still others, look for a chance to bolster one’s brand. From Kareem Abdul-Jabar to LeBron James, history is rife with superstars who traded NBA roots for the promise of greener pastures.
Three notable exceptions: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki, each of whom has, in the past few years, inked contract extensions with their longtime employers. Although the latter two's deals gave their respective franchises much more financial flexibility than Bryant's two-year, $48.5 million extension will likely allow.
Duncan and Nowitzki’s gestures in particular invite the question: Which players within the new wave of NBA stars stands the best chance—either by dint of team talent, contract favorability or sheer love and loyalty—to stick with their franchise family for the long haul?
When all was said and done, we came up with eight players we feel are most likely to follow in the aforementioned legends’ footsteps—all of them under 30, all of them still bearing the same team name across their chests.
Let’s see who they are, shall we?