Most fans have experienced the nightmare of their franchise player demanding a trade at one point or another, and to those who haven't, I truly hope you never do.
It's a tough pill to swallow when you wake up to read the news that your most talented and beloved star wants to "take his talents" elsewhere, and leave your team in his rear-view. Still, this being a business, it happens almost every year.
Some players want to live in a more glamorous part of the country, some want to play for a title contender before their prime window closes, and others just want to move teams to get a larger contract. Whatever the reason is, the goal is the same. They want out. What some fail to realize however, is that much more is affected than just the one player who demanded a trade. Depending on if the trade demand is actually honored or not, it could change the fortune of a player, his team mates, the team itself, and even the city the team plays in. Just look at what Lebron leaving did to Cleveland. I mean really, the economy was practically based on him.
Throughout the NBA's rich history, there have been numerous trade demands that proved devastating for either the franchise, or the player that demanded the trade. Teams fortunes have changed on a dime many a time due to the departure, or arrival of a superstar who demanded a trade.
The following is a list that I've compiled of some of the NBA's most devastating trade demands in memory, and what resulted from the demands being honored, or refused.
Although this may seem unconventional, it still needs to be considered as one of the most outrageous trade demands of NBA history.
The Los Angeles Lakers had drafted Andrew Bynum in hopes of adding a viable second option to a frustrated Kobe Bryant, but things weren't exactly going to plan. Bynum was only proving to be injury prone in the early going, and Kobe's supporting cast was not doing much to alleviate the pain of another losing season.
Rumblings around the league indicated that Hal of fame point guard Jason Kidd would be available for the right trade, and Kobe saw it as a chance to pull the Lakers (and himself) out of the gutter. Phone calls were then made to inquire about Kidd's services, but it became very clear that Andrew Bynum would have to be the main player in any Jason Kidd trade involving the Lakers.
When the Laker brass refused to ship out Bynum for an aging Kidd, Bryant went on a verbal rampage. He was caught on video bashing Bynum's ability, and criticizing the decision making of the Lakers front office all at the same time. He said numerous times that Bynum must be traded, and the deal must be completed to bring LA back to NBA relevance. Still the Lakers management stood firm, and they decided to stick with their young center.
Kobe's antics in hindsight have proven to be outrageous, and flat out wrong in this case. With the addition of Pau Gasol later on, Pau and Bynum formed the twin towers front court that would be instrumental in winning back to back championships.
The time was Post-MJ Era, the man was Barron Davis.
The Lakers seemed to be one of the only surging teams during this period, as most NBA stars were well spread out over the league. While most stars were trying to claim a franchise for their own, Davis instead began to bark trade demands in an effort to join a contending team. The Hornets had no interest in shipping off their star guard until the middle of a terrible season, which saw Davis move to Golden State.
In Golden State, Barron grew to be a kind of cult favorite. His razzle dazzle style of play meshed perfectly with the schemes of Don Nelson, and the result was a thrill to watch. This Warrior team would eventually conquer many foes deemed "out of their league", but none as notorious as the Dallas Mavericks first round upset of 2007. Davis's presence helped unite that Warrior squad, which thrived on being the ultimate underdog.
After the luster of the come-back team tired, Davis found himself being shipped to the Clippers in hopes of joining up with Elton Brand. (haha)
Hard to believe a face like that would request a trade, right?
That's what the Hornets must have thought also. While there was no official trade demand made public by the Hornet's star guard and franchise player, the people of New Orleans can surely read between the lines. The bottom line is that Chris Paul entered into this season unhappy about the team that has been constructed around him. His Hornets were no longer under the radar, and the squad he had to work with was having a tough time staying competitive in the west.
Chris Paul met with the Hornets brass early on to voice his complaints, and to possibly request a trade out of New Orleans. No one can be sure of exactly what was said, but it seems pretty clear that Paul had the intention of getting out of town. Hornets management must have prevailed behind closed doors this time however, as Paul exited their conversations more content than before.
He did not go public and demand a trade, and made a conscious effort to working hard for his current team instead. All of this has payed dividends for New Orleans thus far, as the Hornets are shocking the league by giving even the best teams all they can handle so far this year.
I wouldn't go as far to say that the crisis in New Orleans has been completely averted, but for now it seems like he will continue to play ball.
Most NBA fans didn't think we'd have anything like "the decision" again for quite some time, but the Carmelo situation feels more and more like it every day.
The basics are as follows;
Carmelo Anthony publicly admitted that he was frustrated with how far he could (or couldn't) go in the post season playing for the Nuggets. He knows they're a really good team with him on the squad, but so were the Cavaliers with Lebron. He also expressed interest in returning home to New York to play ball, and that's where things get interesting.
Not only does he want out, but he already has an idea of where he's heading. He wants to go back to the Big Apple, and play for a rising Knicks squad that could certainly benefit from his offense. The Nuggets so far have had other ideas in mind for Carmelo, but the blockbusters keep falling through the cracks.
It's pretty clear at this point of the development, that Carmelo Anthony is going to get his way. A trade to New York seems like it's the only one he'll accept, and if they choose to deny him that option, he's just going to pout the rest of the season before signing with New York on the first possible day.
Whether he's traded, or he signs elsewhere later this year, the results will be devastating for the Denver Nuggets. There is no way they'll get back equal value for Carmelo, but if the Nuggets don't make the deal he wants soon, they risk being Lebron'd.
Even Hakeem had a dream about playing elsewhere at one point in his career. Had it gone through, the landscape of the NBA could have been forever altered.
Most people remember Hakeem the "dream" Olajuwon as the loyal face of the Houston Rockets franchise, but the truth is, it was almost meant for not. Olajuwon was sidelined with a hamstring injury during the 1991 season that kept him on the bench. Hakeem was later cleared by the team doctors to play again, but Olajuwon disagreed. He did not feel as though the injury had finished healing yet, and refused to play.
Rudy Tomjonovich and the Houston Brass decided to play hard ball with Hakeem, as they suspended their franchise star for refusing to play. Unhappy with the season and the way things were going, Hakeem requested a trade out of Houston. Things fizzled quickly after this however, and Olajuwon stayed in Houston to lead the Rockets to two straight titles. He also captured a most valuable player award, further cementing his hall of fame credentials.
Earl "the pearl" Monroe soared to outrageous heights with the New York Knicks, but many forget that he began his journey in a small Baltimore market.
That's right, Monroe was both metaphorically, and literally a Bullet. The Baltimore setting seemed to be enough for a while, as Earl took the league by storm. He made a name for himself early on in the playoffs, but something was still missing. Unlike his team mate Wes Unseld, Monroe felt his talents were too large for a small market like Baltimore any longer.
Now at this point in the NBA (1976), there was no such thing as free agency. Players didn't yet have the opportunity to check out greener pastures during the off season, and moving to another team proved to be quite difficult. One option players did have however, was to defect to the upstart ABA league.
Problems arose when the Bullets could not agree with Monroe on a new salary, and Earl threatened to defect to the ABA Pacers. The Bullets knew that this move would leave them with nothing after losing their star, so they instead decided to grant Earl his wish. The Bullets then shipped Monroe to the big market New York Knicks, where "the pearl" would team up with the incredible Walt Frazier.
This tag team back court pairing lead to one of the most beloved NBA teams of the game's history, the seventies Knicks.
Rarely has a trade demand ever worked out as well as it did for "Sir Charles" Barkely.
Barkley had excelled as a member of the Philadelphia 76er's, learning valuable game secrets from veteran team mates Moses Malone and Julius Erving. His averages grew each year he played, and he continued to establish himself as one of the leagues most dominant power forwards. His team mates did age quickly however, and the Charles soon decided that he would like to try his luck on another squad.
Barkley was traded to the Phoenix Suns after his demand, and it could not have worked out much better for Charles, or the Suns organization. His first year with the Suns, he lead them to a leagues best 62-20 record, and he captured the years Most Valuable Player award. With Barley's help, the Suns went on to face Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA finals.
Ever the controversial character, Charles declared to the Bulls that it was "destiny" for the Suns to win the title that year. Unfortunately for the Suns, Charles had spoken too soon. The Bulls finished the Suns off after six games, and prevented Barkley's destiny of winning an NBA title.
While Charles Barkley fell short of the ultimate NBA dream (winning a title), it could be said that he had one of the best ever results of a trade demand this league has ever seen. Who knows just how legendary he would be today had he stayed with the floundering 76er's?
Like Earl Monroe earlier on, Kareem too was a large fish in a small (and shrinking) pond.
Kareem spent six years turning the Milwaukee Bucks into an NBA contender (and title winner), along with the Big-O, but requested to be traded to a larger cultural market. Kareem spoke well of his fans in Milwaukee, but insisted that he was in Wisconsin on borrowed time. His goal now, was to be traded to a larger market team like the Los Angeles Lakers, or the New York Knicks.
In 1975 the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a large trade, also involving Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers, and Junior Bridgemen. What followed was a series of dominating seasons that saw Kareem post career highs in nearly all of his statistical categories. He also began wearing what came to be known as his trademark goggles after joining the Lakers in order to protect his already badly damaged eyes.
In 1979 the Lakers drafted point-forward (and everything in between) Ervin "Magic" Johnson, and what followed was a decade long co-ownership of the NBA with the Boston Celtics.
Before there was Kareem, there was Wilt Chamberlain. They both wound up on the same team (at different times) via a trade demand, and for the same exact reasons.
Since Free Agency was not yet a viable option, Wilt had to convince the 76er's to trade him to a larger market. Chamberlain made no bones about the fact that he wanted to thrive in a glitzier and more glamorous setting, and he was willing to bargain to make that happen. Wilt wanted to join the forming superpower in Los Angeles (featuring Jerry West and Elgin Baylor), and was told by Ike Richman that he would get a stake in the team once he retired. Ike Richman passed away in 1966 however, and his business associates refused to hold up the deal that was made with Wilt before the trade occurred.
The trade was completed in 1968, and Wilt joined up with West and Baylor in Los Angeles. The 76er's fell out of relevance soon thereafter, and the Lakers saw their share of troubles as well. While they would win a title in 1972, most fans would agree this team severely underachieved despite all their potential, mostly due to clashing ego's.
2007 seems like such a long time ago with all that has occurred since, right?
But still, sometimes I'm awoken in the middle of the night, trying to escape the nightmare that was the 2007 Kobe Braynt trade demand.
It was then three years since the Shaq-Kobe split, and things were reaching a boiling point in Los Angeles. Kobe was growing increasingly frustrated with the Lakers lack of attempts to build a strong team around him, and can you really blame him?
Kobe was no question in the prime of his career at the time, and his starting line up had both Kwame Brown, AND Smush Parker. If that isn't a Hall of Famer's worst nightmare, I'm not sure what is. Also the Lakers were missing valuable opportunities to improve this line up, most notably when Jason Kidd became available to the best offer.
All of this lead to Kobe Bryant venting his frustration on a local Los Angeles radio show one morning, where he publicly requested a trade from the Lakers. His words sent shock waves throughout the league, as fans of the Lakers were on the verge of tears, and fans of Kobe's preferred destinations (New York, Chicago, Clippers) were foaming at the mouth.
The Lakers brass played this extremely volatile situation like a chess game however, and refused to make any hasty decisions. They managed to calm Kobe's temper by refusing an immediate trade, and bought themselves some time to fix the situation.
Enter, Pau Gasol. Once the Lakers pounced on the opportunity to get Kobe a dependable second option, everything seemed to turn on a dime. The Lakers went on to three straight finals appearances (and two wins), and Kobe Bryant re-signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
While the NBA is a business first, measures can still be taken to increase the chances of keeping your superstar.
We all know they're over paid with colossal ego's, but they are also some of the most exciting people in the world to watch compete. The superstar is far from a perfect entity, but if you treat them right, you'll get a lot in return. My advice is to enjoy your team's superstar for as long as you can, because things can change very quickly in the NBA.
One minute they're in love with the fans and the city, the next they want to be on the first plane to the big city. I just hope that day never comes for you, because it's not a fun experience.