Thursday is one of the most frenzied days in the NBA. Come 3:00 PM (ET), GMs around the league will be asked to put down their phones and stop bartering.
True, not all players can be traded. In some contracts, a no-trade clause is built in, meaning players can block any trade they’re not interested in being part of. Only a handful of players have them: PF Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics, C Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, SG Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and PF Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. These four players have a few things in common. They’ve all won at least one Most Valuable Player award in their career and have all won at least one NBA Championship. They have a combined total of 11 NBA Championships and 5 MVP awards. They’ve all reached, in other words, incredibly high levels of success in the NBA.
Lack that and you might have to follow Shawn Marion’s example. The longtime Dallas Mavericks forward may have added a de facto no-trade clause to his contract by dint of a recent interview with Tim McMahon of ESPN. Marion, in response to being mentioned in trade rumors, said “If I’m going to get traded, they’re going to tell me what’s going on and where I’m going. Because if I’m going to a [expletive] situation, I’m not going.” Seems unlikely he’s at the top of anyone’s must-have list, now. But even Marion has the leverage simple longevity confers: he’s played for 16 seasons. Someone like 22-year-old Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks, also mentioned in trade rumors, would not be able to execute such a move.
Professional athletes aren’t robots, despite what their seemingly superhuman abilities might suggest. Living in the constant fear of being uprooted is yet another toll the profession takes on them. Something to keep in mind the next time you’re fervently praying to the basketball gods that Russian center Timofey Mozgov of the Nuggets be traded for the second time in his brief two-and-a-half year career.