Player movement is often justified as a response to the ruthless reality of trades. It usually comes in the form of a plyer comparing something like “when a team trades a player that’s business, but when a player requests a trade or leaves in free agency, then he’s a traitor.” There is merit to that point, but it leaves out the fact that GM’s do get criticized for trades, a lot.
A prime example would be Danny Ainge trading Isaiah Thomas. IT played hurt, played after his sister passed away, gave everything he had and then got traded to the Cavs. A cold move by Trader Danny. This move labeled him so much that Anthony Davis’ father used it as a reason why his son doesn’t want to go to Boston. But, Paul Pierce has a different opinion on Danny (via The Jump):
This is why I respect Danny Ainge because Danny Ainge had a meeting with me, Ray and Kevin and said ‘You know, you’re getting older. I may have a situation where I might have to trade you guys.‘ and I respect that. He didn’t come out and say ‘These guys are not going anywhere.‘
Pierce pointed out the DeMar DeRozan or Blake Griffin scenario is much worse. You tell a player he’s your franchise guy, promise him he isn’t on the trade block and then you brake that promise. We have more and more players finding out from Woj with everybody else. Ainge may be ruthless but he always does what he thinks is best for the team.
It’s how you go about the trade that matters as much as do you trade a player in the first place.