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Anthony Davis, the Lakers and the state of NBA superstar trade demands

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When Anthony Davis asked the New Orleans Pelicans to trade him, preferably to the Los Angeles Lakers, it may have seemed like a tough decision. But he had five decades of history to show him how.

In 1968, Wilt Chamberlain informed the Philadelphia 76ers that he wanted to be traded to the Lakers. Chamberlain threatened 76ers general manager Jack Ramsay that if he wasn’t accommodated he’d take his talents to the new American Basketball Association or play pro beach volleyball.

Modern-day stars have been forcing trades at a record pace. It’s remarkable it has taken this long, as the leverage of a basketball star is unparalleled in major team sports.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Even after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made his power play by asking the Milwaukee Bucks to trade him in 1974 (the trade happened in ’75), others barely followed. The 1980s were largely devoid of such action, though Magic Johnson did publicly demand a trade that forced the Lakers to fire coach Paul Westhead. It wasn’t until 1992 that another in-his-prime superstar made the play, when Charles Barkley pushed his way out of Philadelphia.4

This decade, of course, it has become routine business. Some, such as Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, have pressured their teams to trade them twice. Call it player empowerment if you want, though it has more the feel of player enlightenment.

When George, Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler demanded trades, they didn’t immediately get to control where they ended up. That lack of agency — despite attempts to exert control — is one downside for players.

Irving seemed to thrive in Boston, then ended up abandoning a public pledge to re-sign there. “I’m incredibly grateful to be here, it’s been a journey,” Irving said after departing for Brooklyn, closer to home. “This is a game, but also our lives come into this, and when it affects our happiness to play basketball then the product … is not great.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Like Irving ultimately, Leonard, George and Butler each got to choose his next destination, leaving the teams that acquired them by trade. All four are examples of how fragile contentment can be in the current NBA but, then again, all four are examples of the eventual positive outcomes from trade demands.

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