The last superstar to have a trade request rejected
NO MEANS NO

The last superstar to have a trade request rejected

It’s not just that Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook again requested a trade. But the fact they want to be traded to a specific team and drastically reduce their trade value truly annoys me. That made me wonder, who’s the last superstar that requested a trade, and the team just said “No”?

The one that came to mind was none other than Kobe Bryant. Kobe almost became a Chicago Bull twice, and in 2007 he requested a trade. Kobe wasn’t happy with the state of the Lakers and gave them a list of teams he wanted to go to, with Chicago being no.1 on the list. More importantly, Detroit wasn’t on the list. The Pistons made the best offer – Richard “Rip” Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and draft picks. 

“I gave you a list of teams I’m comfortable being traded to. Not Detroit.”

Kobe Bryant, LA Times

Detroit decided they don’t want a disgruntled superstar, and the deal was off. The Lakers talked to the Bulls, but they still had to outbid Detroit. When the Bulls refused to put Luol Deng in the deal, the Lakers backed out. That was it – Kobe wasn’t traded. He was still under contract and that contract had to be fulfilled. Why would they trade a superstar for less than offered?

The Lakers told Kobe “No.” They had talks when he thought he was a Chicago Bull. But basically, they told Kobe, “Training camp starts September 29th, we’ll see you there”

Brian Windhorst, The Lowe Post

If player empowerment develops in the direction we’ve seen the past few years, Adam Silver will have to step in and tell players there’s a balance that has to be struck. If you have years on your contract, it’s OK to ask for a trade, even give a list of teams you’d like to get traded to. 

But when you have years on your contract and burn every bridge but to a single team of your choosing, that’s just too much. We’re talking about players you design your entire team around. Just look at all the moves the Rockets did and how much of their future they sacrificed to customize for Harden’s (and Westbrook’s) basketball style. At least work with the team so they can recuperate some of the value. 

Teams could suspend and/or fine the players, but no-one wants things to get that far. On the latest “Lowe Post”, Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst talked about that – what’s one move too much when the NBA has to step in and put their foot down. If a player would try and push a team to trade him by showing up to games and refusing to play – that’s a scenario the NBA fears and obviously feels is possible. 

I think we won’t see that, but I’m not sure which says a lot. Just 13 years ago, Kobe Bean Bryant had a trade request rejected after the Lakers didn’t feel they can get enough, and teams nowadays jump at every wink of lesser players. What are we doing here?