Players like Anthony Davis have value and hold power – Kareem

February 20, 2019
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


There was no social media or around-the-clock basketball coverage in October 1974, on the night when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar looked up from his dinner plate and told the Milwaukee Bucks that he would like to be traded.

As such, hardly anybody knew initially about the demand.

If anyone understands what Anthony Davis is thinking, asking for a trade out of New Orleans with nearly 1 1/2 seasons left on his contract, it's Abdul-Jabbar. His trade request came with two years left on his contract in Milwaukee. Eventually, he got his wish in the summer that followed his ask, and got traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I think that the players have power because they have value," Abdul-Jabbar said. "The players that teams know that they can win with are going to be in a position to dictate what they want to do."

And while few people would disagree with that, the fact that Davis' request went public -- and the impact it had on the both the Pelicans and the Lakers, the team that appeared to go after the six-time All-Star the hardest before the trade deadline came and went earlier this month without a move being consummated -- did not sit well with a number of the league's former players at All-Star weekend.

And it isn't about the money. Top players like Davis, who will likely get his trade request fulfilled this summer ,are going to be well compensated one way or the other. But some think he might have been better served keeping it quiet until then.

"I just think it's a situation where they needed to keep it in-house," Hall of Fame guard Rick Barry said. "Just talk to the owners. Talk amongst yourselves. Airing your dirty laundry and putting stuff out there ... I just don't understand why you want to get into a situation like that, that does nobody any good and can only cause problems."

Forced a trade

Like Abdul-Jabbar, and like Davis, Barry also forced a trade. Back in his ABA days, he made it known that when the Washington Caps were moving to Norfolk, Virginia, he wanted no part of playing there. So Barry got traded to the New York Nets, the entire trade "saga" lasting no more than a week or two and all done during an off-season.

Davis asking in-season, Barry said, had a negative effect on both the Pelicans and the Lakers.

"Doing it a year before, I don't understand," Barry said. "Hopefully, they won't continue doing it that far in advance."

Actually, that is nothing new.

Kyrie Irving had two years, plus an option year, left on his deal with Cleveland when he asked for a trade and eventually got moved to the Boston Celtics. Paul George had a year left when he told Indiana that he wanted out. Both of those requests went public, and it could be argued that the Cavaliers and Pacers were ailed, at least somewhat, by losing leverage, since it was no secret the superstars wanted to be moved.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver doesn't like trade demands, especially ones that go public. When the NBA adopted its most recent collective-bargaining agreement, Silver said the notion was that teams would have the option to extend player deals a year early to avoid being blindsided by requests by those players to leave.

It hasn't worked that way, with Davis just being the latest example.

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