As the sluggish NBA trade market nears the deadline, history has shown that a player’s desired trade destination may not matter.
The NBA trade market continues to hum quietly, with little talk of substantive deals gaining real development. There are frames being passed between front offices and role players are available, but this landscape of transactions before the bell on February 9 is desperately lacking in significant talent on the block, in the eyes of top execs, particularly for teams. looking to add a true All-Star in their respective builds.
That’s why someone like Zach LaVinethe BullsThe two-time All-Star, who is in the first season of a five-year, $215 million max contract, would have no shortage of suitors if Chicago decided to move the 27-year-old guard before next Thursday’s deadline. despite some concern about his recovery from off-season arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. lakers heat knicks Y Mavericks they’ve been cited consistently by league personnel as motivations to get LaVine if the time comes. Portland also showed interest in signing LaVine last offseason, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Atlanta loomed as a potential destination for LaVine before the Hawks splurged Dejounte Murray.
For any team that clings to the hope of LaVine’s availability, or that bradley beal will ask someday outside of Washington, or if bring young ever looking for a trade from the Hawks, it might actually be wise for the stars to avoid creating a proverbial list of destination teams. Recent NBA history seems to suggest that when such a player expresses his preference for his next employer, those same teams are often left empty-handed.
James Harden landed in Brooklyn after asking to leave Houston, but told reporters upon his arrival in Philadelphia in 2022 that he always preferred to join the 76ers. Anthony Davis calling out his chance in 2019, pointing to the Lakers with Lebron James and then landing in Los Angeles, might be the only clear example in modern memory of an All-Star arriving directly at the desired location by trade request.
You have to go back to 2011 to find another, when Carmelo Anthony was transferred to New York as he always wanted, and yet the pips almost sent him to then New Jersey networks However. Chris Paul scored his ticket to Houston in 2017 not by requesting a trade but by opting for the last year of his contractwho helped facilitate a seven-player package and a first-round pick by Pair of scissors However.
The following fall of 2018, when Jimmy Butler requested a trade out of the timber wolves, Butler had told Minnesota officials he wanted to be traded to either the Clippers or the Knicks, with the Nets listed as the third choice. And yet he went to Philadelphia.
Brooklyn, Los Angeles and New York, one can remember, were stacking their decks for 2019 free agency, focused on clearing cap space to add two max-contract-level players. Word of kawhi leonardButler’s interest in heading to Southern California that summer had permeated the league, no doubt influencing Butler’s look at the Clippers and weighing heavily on Leonard’s 2018 trade request from San Antonio.
At the time, teams coveting Leonard, such as Boston and Philadelphia, were concerned about Leonard’s imminent flight risk that following summer; in fact, he left for the Clippers during the 2019 offseason. Thus, few suitors were willing to meet the bill. SpursThe asking price for Leonard — and the Finals MVP, of course — ended up being traded from San Antonio to Toronto, as far from Los Angeles as Leonard would have expected. do not forget paul georgeLeonard’s last running mate with the Clippers, he was traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City in 2017 after he also communicated his plans to flee to Los Angeles when he hit the open market.
George and Leonard took sabbaticals in temporary locations to get to the city they wanted to call home. And the Lakers, of course, missed out on both All-Stars, despite obvious scheming by George and Leonard. What would have happened to James’ tenure in Hollywood if Davis had chosen to join? Kyrie Irving in Boston instead?
The All-Star point guard was actually recruiting Davis for the celts after Irving requested a trade to gentlemen in 2017. Irving also did not have Boston on the list of preferred teams that his representation had given to the Cleveland leadership. However, that omission was by design. According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, while Irving’s then-agent Jeffrey Wechsler informed Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert that his client preferred to be traded to the Spurs, Knicks, Timberwolves or Heat, the list intentionally excluded the Celtics, the franchise that Cleveland had. fresh off meeting in the previous season’s Eastern Conference finals.
Irving, sources told Yahoo Sports, considered the Cavaliers to be changing. Cleveland was in talks with former Pistons guard Chauncey Billups to become its next general manager after Gilbert and chief executive David Griffin couldn’t agree on terms of a new contract. Irving and his management were already hearing credible rumors in Cleveland and James’ camp that he, too, was eyeing Los Angeles in free agency after the 2017-18 season. Also, the Celtics had draft capital and veteran players prepared to send to the Cavs in return.
Once Wechsler got Gilbert’s permission to contact opposing teams, sources said, he and Celtics president Danny Ainge engaged in frequent dialogue about Irving’s trade market. This is not to characterize Irving-to-Boston as an elaborate clandestine operation. Cleveland’s front office valued the Nets’ 2018 draft pick Boston had, via the legendary 2013 Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade to Brooklyn, as one of the top five picks in that upcoming draft, sources said. to Yahoo Sports. The Cavaliers considered that pick the top draft asset offered to Cleveland as part of the incoming packages for Irving. The Celtics, however, would not have been so emboldened to trade for Irving, himself two years shy of reaching unrestricted free agency, without first learning of his incalculable interest in Boston.
Lo and behold, after those two seasons in Massachusetts, Irving, of course, left the Celtics in favor of teaming up with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn during free agency in 2019 after the Knicks were considered the top contenders for the pair of All-Stars. New York sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks before the 2019 trade deadline after Porzingis, then a one-time All-Star, met with Knicks officials and requested that he be moved. Parting ways with Porzingis then, and clearing the way for plenty of cap space, signaled New York’s confidence that he could secure two top players in Irving and Durant.
Porzingis’ agent at the time, Andy Miller, also offered the list of his client’s next favorite teams: the Nets, raptors, Heat, Clippers and Spurs. “Dallas was in the top six, for me,” Porzings told Yahoo Sports. It doesn’t seem like the Mavericks’ absence from their reported pool of desired teams was nearly as intentional as Irving’s with Boston. In this case, Porzingis felt unappreciated in New York and was simply looking for a fresh start, and the 7-foot-3 center recalled following directions from Miller that he didn’t necessarily agree with. He didn’t want to meet with Knicks leadership and awkwardly demand a trade. He didn’t want to be the focus of a Midtown-based news cycle, where a sweepstakes for his services was taking place.
“Just the way things escalated to get there, it’s just not my style. It’s not my style at all,” Porzingis said. “I would have done completely different things if I had the mind that I have now. But you’re young and you trust people, and people do things for you or it seems like you’re doing the things people tell you to. You’re doing things, but it’s someone else’s mind.”
Brooklyn’s front office discussed the possibility of trading for Porzingis “ad nauseam,” a Nets staffer said at the time. Toronto also had a bona fide interest in Porzingis, sources said, which ran through the 2022 trade deadline. The Clippers were gearing up for their splashy summer of 2019, and the Los Angeles front office, led by Lawrence Frank, also a longtime customer and close friend of Miller’s, was also interested in Porzingis. And yet it was Dallas, with a calm mind toward matching the budding superstar. luka doncic with an All-Star counterpart, who went under the radar to land Porzingis without any preliminary fanfare. “No matter how it was done, it would probably be talked about,” Porzingis said. “But you end up with a team that nobody was talking about.”
Buyers beware. Even this past summer, when the Jazz put up the All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell On the market, Mitchell’s well-known determination to join New York, coupled with the Knicks’ obvious yearning for Mitchell, seemed to have somehow derailed New York’s approach to signing Mitchell. Utah’s staff contends the Knicks’ approach to Mitchell suggested New York felt the franchise was trading against itself, sources told Yahoo Sports, because no rival suitor could offer more draft capital and a more favorable destination for Mitchell. Even members of the Cavaliers’ front office didn’t believe they were really vying for Mitchell, sources said, until Utah called Cleveland back and went ahead with their five-year draft capital package from the Cavs, Lauri Markkanen Y collin sexton — the player Cleveland ultimately drafted with the 2018 first-round draft pick for Irving.
Mitchell has thrived with the Cavaliers, and was recently named an All-Star starter. Leonard led the Raptors to a championship. That’s the thing about mundane basketball talent. The best players in this game seem to thrive as long as the ball finds their hands, regardless of their location. There’s no telling which team will jump at the chance to land his services, even if it’s not the apple of that player’s eye.