Carmelo Anthony should be under arrest at this point for how he has held his team against their will.
In the last month or so, Carmelo Anthony has taken the reigns from Lebron James as the NBA's must watch development. Rumors that Carmelo Anthony has wanted a trade now for several weeks have poured in, despite the fact that publicly Anthony has denied these "requests".
Just yesterday Carmelo reported that there is only a 50/50 chance that he will he playing for the Denver Nuggets come opening night, and my guess is there is even less chance than he reports.
Like it or not, the Nuggets are being held hostage by their franchise player. Anthony has stolen every ounce of the Nuggets concentration this off season, and could end up leaving them at the worst possible time.
In this article I'm going to examine other franchise cornerstones that could presumably stop a team in their tracks with a trade request. In no particular order, here are my top candidates of players who could hold their franchise captive.
While he may be injury prone, the people of Portland would be devastated at the loss of Brandon Roy.
Brandon Roy is more than a dynamic shooting guard for Portland, much more. He represents something they have not seen since the days of Clyde "the Glide" Drexler, Hope.
Hope that the franchise can make it back to the top tier of basketball action. Hope that the fans and the franchise can shed the "Jail Blazers" reputation for good. Hope that they can re-capture the magic of winning an NBA championship.
Likelihood of Departure: 15%
I would say zero percent as Roy seems about as loyal as they come, but the recent trends in basketball suggest that any player when sufficiently frustrated could decide to jump ship.
What the team loses: The Trail Blazers would lose a prolific scorer, a clutch shot maker, a dynamic play maker, and one heck of a good guy. Roy seems to be one of the last NBA stars with a humble head on his shoulders, and that's something anyone should be afraid to lose.
Danny Granger may not get much love outside of NBA Fantasy drafts, but losing him is something the Pacers hope never happens.
While being one of the premier talents in the league today, Granger may also be the best player you've never heard of. Major NBA fans know his name, but it's far from a house hold handle due to the market that he plays in.
The Pacers have not done a whole lot since Granger's arrival despite his amazing abilities on the offensive end, and it makes me wonder if Granger would ever consider leaving Indiana.
Likelihood of Departure: 25%
I give Granger a slightly larger percentage to depart because I have never really heard that Danny has overwhelming feelings for the Pacers. He seems content so far with his career in Indiana, but that doesn't mean his opinion of them can't sour if they continue to be out of title contention.
What the team loses: If Granger decided to leave the Pacers high and dry some day, they would have quite a void to fill. Granger carries their scoring load, rebounds very well, can hit the long ball with consistency, and may be the only reason Indiana can sell tickets these days.
OK, so maybe Joe Johnson did get the most ridiculous contract in recent memory.
Does that mean he's not valuable to the Atlanta Hawks?
No. Not at all.
It's true that you never know what to expect from Johnson. Some nights he scores in great volume and can hit the buzzer beater with ease, other nights he just....dissapears.
It's also true that most people would not choose Johnson as one of their cornerstones if they had the chance to build an NBA team. That being said, he's the best and the only thing the Hawks have in that department.
While he hasn't proven to be a vocal leader for the team, he can do just about everything else for them. One thing you can be sure of, is that if Joe had gone elsewhere this past summer the Hawks would be in a world of hurt.
Players like Johnson excite the crowd, and make the game a fun one to watch. While he may not have been worth the max contract, it just goes to show you how doomed the Hawks would have been without him.
Likelihood of Departure: 10%
I say this now because if Joe Johnson was going to leave this team behind, he would have done so already. This new contract basically states that he's fine with how much he wins in Atlanta for that kind of money.
What the team loses: If Johnson defies the odds and decided to help form a super team elsewhere, the Hawks would lose any semblance of identity that they currently have.
No one else on the squad would have a prayer in carrying the scoring load, and a once exciting team would all of the sudden seem mildly entertaining.
What's the only news the Bulls could receive that's worse than Boozer breaking his hand?
That Derrick Rose wants to leave town.
Rose has been the biggest face of the franchise since Michael Jordan left in late 2008. He's young, amazingly talented, and has not even come close to his full potential yet. Each year Rose seems to become quicker, smarter, and closer to the dream point guard many believe he can be.
If Rose decided to "take his talents" elsewhere, the Bulls organization would be in a state of emergency. If they had a "big red button" in their control room, they'd be pushing it.
Derrick Rose is not just a talented player, he's the identity of this generation's Bulls squad. They have a new point/swingman to be excited about, and they surely don't want him leaving town now.
Chicago has been thirsting for another championship for 12 years now, and Rose is their best shot at number seven.
Likelihood of Departure: 5%
Derrick Rose looks very comfortable in Chicago, and is starting to get surrounded by championship talent. Derrick now has a title contention window with the Bulls that I don't believe he'd be able to leave behind.
What the team loses: It would be stating the obvious to say that the Bulls would lose a versatile and dynamic point guard, but it's still the truth.
The Bulls would also be losing a great deal of youth. Their core youth with Rose and Noah is the best asset they have going for them at the moment, and they would hate to see that cut in half.
People in Chicago have embraced Rose as their front man now, and they sure as heck don't want to start that process over with somebody new.
OK come on, we all knew this joke was coming.
How could I not include Arenas in an article about holding people hostage? Haha.
I couldn't resist that one.
Gilbert Arenas is a great talent in the NBA, unfortunately he's not exactly a great mind. Apart from being injury prone, Gilbert has made some serious errors in judgement. His image has taken a beating not seen since the 2004 days of Colorado, or the "Dog Days" of Michael Vick.
The Wizards Brass is putting on quite a dog and pony show right now stating how they intend to use Gilbert, but I'm not buying any of it.
What Arenas did just a few months ago was deplorable, and you can bet a Buffalo Nickel that he will be dealt to the first team that's dumb enough to offer something for him.
Likelihood of Departure: 95%
Arenas leaving the Wizards is about as close to a sure thing as you can get in this league. This gun incident was not his first transgression, and I doubt they want to keep him around for his next fiasco.
What the team loses: While they do lose a talented guard, they also lose a headcase.
They lose a bad influence that they don't want poisoning the rookie phenom John Wall. They lose a bad memory of one of their worse decisions as a franchise, and they lose the responsibility of his next (yes there will be another) maniacal decision.
The Nets have been trying to land a premium talent to stand beside Brook Lopez, but so far have come up empty.
Lopez is an amazing talent at the five spot, and his court effectiveness seems to improve every year. With only a few true centers left in the league today, Lopez would be a real asset to any team lucky enough to have him.
The Nets seem to be pretty high on Lopez's future with the organization, and my guess is they would be devastated if he ever admitted to wanting out.
Brook seems to be happy with his franchise at the moment, but will he still be so happy if the Nets fail to surround him with a premium scorer during his prime years? My gut says they'll land someone to compliment him eventually, but will it come too late?
Likelihood of Departure: 25%
All seems well between the Nets and their star center Lopez, but people have opted out of New Jersey before,(Carter, Kidd) and it can always happen again.
What the team loses: This would be a real blow to New Jersey, as Brook is not someone you can exactly replace in the league today. He's one of maybe three true centers left in a changing breed of big men, and he brings his own unique skill set along with him.
I have previously stated in one of my prior articles that I don't think Deron Williams would ever leave the Jazz.
That being said, anythings possible right?
The Jazz have quite a bit of talent on the roster these days, but would not soon recover from the loss of one Deron Williams.
Sure, the Jazz have been winning a lot of games with Williams. But what if he doesn't want to go the route of Stockton and Malone? (no disrespect). Players today want titles more than ever before, multiple titles in fact.
It makes me wonder if someday having winning seasons just isn't enough for Deron anymore.
Likelihood of Departure: 10%
I just don't see this as a likely event. Williams has forged deep bonds with Utah, and they with him. Williams likes being "the man" for his team, and wants desperately to bring the Jazz back to their glory days of finals appearances.
What the team loses: The Jazz would be losing one of the games elite point guards, as well as their teams leader. Along with Chris Paul, Williams is the best out there at the point. Losing him would essentially be losing one of this generation's top talents, something I'm sure the Jazz franchise deems unacceptable.
Speaking of Chris Paul, he's the only thing holding the Hornets together at this point.
David West has by most accounts failed to live up to his potential, and the supporting cast around the two of them is also less than desirable.
Chris Paul may be the only thing selling tickets for the Hornets these days, and New Orleans no longer has Darren Collison in case Paul were to split.
When healthy, Chris Paul is still the top point guard in the league. Some people doubt him lately due to his big injury last year, but he's still someone you want to hang onto.
Earlier in the off season we all heard rumblings from Chris Paul about how he might like to be traded. It's unclear at this juncture where CP3 stands with his franchise, but one thing that's clear now is that Chris Paul is open to the idea of moving on if he gets the right offer.
Likelihood of Departure: 50%
This one is a genuine coin flip in my opinion.
Chris Paul could resolve his issues with the team, and eventually get the kind of supporting cast he needs to be in contention for an NBA championship.
He could also throw in the proverbial towel with the Hornets and head for a more desirable franchise.
The bottom line with him is we have heard the trade rumblings now, so anything is possible.
What the team loses: The Hornets would essentially lose everything. Yes, everything.
Paul scores well, assists like no other, and rebounds better than most. Not to mention he's one of the best thieves in the NBA. Without him you also lose all court vision in New Orleans.
If he left, David West would officially be the best player on the team.
....Man that's a scary thought.
Things have not looked great for Sacramento since Mike Bibby was shipped out of town, not until Tyreke Evans came along that is.
Evans gives the Kings back their dynamic point guard they lost a few years ago, and he does it with his own unique skill set. He's a strong slashing guard who has the ability to carry this team with the right pieces around him.
He seems alright with the fact that he's playing in a pretty small market, but things could always change. While the Kings rightfully feel high on the acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins, what do you have if Tyreke leaves town?
There are many teams in the league right now that would kill for a guard like Evans, and he knows it. If Sac Town fails to win in the coming seasons, the trade rumblings will be right around the corner.
Likelihood of Departure: 20%
I don't see Evans leaving as a likely scenario, but you never can tell on teams that rarely sport winning season records. Every player as good as Evans has an ego, and his may rear its ugly head if the Kings fail to live up to what he envisioned for his NBA career.
What the team loses: Sacramento would quite simply lose the best thing they've had in years.
Kevin Martin could score, but Tyreke has the potential to be an elite all-around player.
My advice for the Kings, is keep Evans happy. He is the key to your future.
Have fun talking about the Big Three in Boston all you want, this is the guy the Celtics cannot afford to lose.
Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett are the past. Together they are all the present, but Rondo is the future.
The Big Three only have a few grains of sand left in the hour glass, but for Rajon Rondo, this is only the beginning. When Pierce and company finally walk off into the sunset, the Celtics brass will find a way to surround Rondo with talent.
You really think they're going to sit back and watch the Lakers collect banners?
With Rondo they have their next corner stone. He's an elite level point guard with a thousand up sides. If he even pretends to have an offensive game in the coming years, he may be the deadliest guard out there.
Without Rondo they have......wait a second......I'm sure I'll find something...
The Celtics need to do everything in their power to keep Rondo right where he is, even if they have to sell their family and friends to do so.
Likelihood of Departure: 4%
Much stranger things have happened in basketball, and life, but I don't see this happening.
Rondo will most likely never put another uniform on, mostly because the Celtics will continue to bowl him over with lucrative contracts, and promises of more titles in the coming years.
He may have a lull in his career similar to Kobe's when Shaq left, but we saw what happened after that lull didn't we?
What the team loses: Without Rondo, the Celtics would be irrelevant again for the next 10 years.
You can pick up a swing man at most local garage sales, and a small forward without selling your home, but an elite guard like Rondo is a once in a million opportunity.
Two questions probably come to mind right now.
Why would Pau Leave?
Wouldn't they still have Kobe?
Fair enough. Let's explore this.
It's not likely that Pau would leave the Lakers. He seemingly has it all in Southern California. He makes great money, wins championships, and has great weather 330 days a year.
In lieu of all this, people do the strangest things sometimes.
I'd bet my life savings Pau would never ask to be traded back to Memphis, or a similar situation, but he could always jump at the chance of joining another major contender.
The threat of him leaving due to not winning chips is no longer there, but the possibility of him winning elsewhere could always be enough.
Secondly, the Lakers would still have Kobe Bryant right?
Right. But no one lasts forever. I believe Bryant will be a threat for a few more years, but Gasol could be around longer than that. Keeping the core of big men after Bryant departs should be the No. 1 "to do" on Mitch Kupcheck's list.
Also after Gasol arrived L.A. has been to three straight finals appearances with two wins. Keep the Spaniard happy Lakers.
Likelihood of Departure: 9%
This does not seem plausible to me, but I give it just as much chance as a batter knocking a wild pitch out of the park. Stranger things happen.
Gasol has won with the Lakers, drank champagne with them, hoisted titles with them, but will he finish with them?
What the team loses: It would be a catastrophic blow to the Lakers. They would lose a great amount of line up versatility, they're twin tower defense, and a chunk of offense as well.
You can scour the league for another Pau Gasol, but you won't find one.
Is Dirk too old to include?
Not in my opinion.
The Mavericks are looking like a pretty stacked team this year, but Dirk is the reason there's a deep end to this pool.
Nowitzki has always seemed happy with the Mavericks and friend Mark Cuban, but the dangerous wild card in this equation is that Dirk is title-less.
What do aging superstars do when they are still without a title in this league again?
Oh right, they jump ship to make a super team.
Barkley did it, Malone did it, Garnett and Allen did it, James did it, Carmelo is about to do it, so is it so unthinkable that Dirk could do it?
Sounds about right to me.
The best part is, Dirk is still good enough to majorly contribute to any team he's shipped off to.
You can bet that if Dirk ever wanted a trade, Dallas would go into cardiac arrest.
The fact is that Dallas could still feasibly win a title with Dirk as the centerpiece, though the window is starting to close.
If Dirk decides he wants out this year or next, then Dallas would go into a forced rebuild mode for the foreseeable future.
Likelihood of Departure: 30%
The smart money is still on Dirk staying loyal to his team, that much is clear. I give it a chance to go the other way however, because he does not have a ring.
I'm not sure how much he wants that ring before his playing days come to an end, but we may very well find out if he demands a trade.
I still say no, but History says....maybe.
What the team loses: Dallas would lose the man who brought them all the way to the Finals in '06.
They would likely recover after a few years, but they would have to close the door on title contention for some time.
Is that something ultra competitive Mark Cuban is ready to do?
Now things are getting serious.
Could you imagine the kind of pandemonium that would arise if Dwight Howard wanted a trade?
Can you even get equal value for someone like him?
Dwight Howard has seen a considerable amount of success on the Magic squad, but as the old saying goes, "There's no ring on that finger".
He seems like a light hearted prankster who always wants to laugh both on and off of the court, but what happens when the jokes stop?
What happens is he gets to the mountain top again, only to be pushed off by the Lakers again?
Or the Thunder? Or in the eastern conference finals by the Celtics or Heat?
My guess is that if Dwight even hinted that he wanted a trade, the Orlando Magic would have kittens.
They don't have any kinds of plans that don't include the most dominant center in the game, and they sure don't want to start imagining that scenario.
Likelihood of Departure: 11%
All signs point to Dwight being the center piece (no pun intended) of the Magic Franchise for years to come. There is plenty of talent around him, and his game continues to grow each year.
Anyone in Orlando would tell you he's not going anywhere, but that's also what they thought with Shaq...right?
What the team loses: Orlando could presumably lose the most dominant center of this generation.
Dwight still needs sharpening on the offensive end, but his defense is second to none, and he will continue to become a more complete ball player as years pass.
He's done it before right?
I'm no expert, but I believe the popular phrase is "History repeats itself?"
The odds favor LeBron, Wade, and Bosh winning championships in the near future, but super teams have failed before. (See: 2004 Lakers, Barkley's Rockets, and to an extent Jerry West's Lakers with only one title)
If this Heat team somehow manages to underachieve for a few seasons, it may leave Lebron wanting to "take his talents" elsewhere...again.
We all know what Lebron brings to the table, everything but loyalty.
Even with that knowledge, not one of the thirty teams would turn him down.
If LeBron decided to pull a "LeBron" again, Dwyane wade would probably be put on suicide watch.
Likelihood of Departure: 8%
Even with Lebron's track record, I don't see how he could do it again. I'm also not sure if he'd have any fans left. I give it 8 percent because his ego really is that big for this to happen a second time.
What the team loses: A shot at multiple titles, and the biggest stat sheet stuffer in the NBA.
No one would cause panic by requesting a trade more than Keven Durant.
Not just because of how good he is, or how valuable he is to his team either.
It would be the most shocking of them all because he's the last person in the NBA that we would expect to jump ship.
The guy sweats loyalty out of his pores.
He has a Doctorate in humble behavior.
He is more certain about his abilities than in evolution.
Get what I'm saying here?
Kevin Durant holding his team hostage for a trade out of Oklahoma would be the shocker to end all shocker stories.
Could it ever happen?
I personally can't see it. He's budding into an NBA superstar, he has a great young supporting cast, and has a wide open championship window.
Likelihood of Departure: 1%
My jaw would drop to the floor if I ever heard a trade request from Durant. The dude has a bright future with Oklahoma, and smart money says that's where he will retire...an Oklahoma Legend.
What the team loses: Nothing. Won't happen.
Thanks again for the read everyone!
I welcome constructive criticism, and love a good debate, so comment and we'll talk!