David Zalubowski / Associated Press
Kawhi Leonard's commercial demand caused a considerable change in Gregg Popovich's San Antonio Spurs and ultimately pulled DeMar DeRozan out of the only franchise he has ever known.
That said, both men still support players expressing the desire to be traded.
"I always have to side with the individuals who do what they want for the rest of their lives," Popovich said after declaring the claims had a "detrimental" effect on the NBA, according to Tom Osborn of the Express news.
"We all have the right, and if you feel like that, if you're not comfortable, if you want to go somewhere else, you'll feel better, go for it," DeRozan said. "I totally agree with that, no one should feel locked up to be in the same place if they do not want to, I do not have a problem with that. . "
The Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green against DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a first-round pick in 2019 last July. DeRozan spent his first nine seasons in Toronto, becoming one of the most valued players in the history of the franchise.
Leonard, Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis have each requested transactions in the last two years. Davis is the only one not to have his request for exchange accepted, although it will almost certainly be dealt with this summer. The other three players each applied during the off-season.
The Indiana Pacers are the only team to recover something that looks like what they dropped, although the injury season inflicted by Victor Oladipo makes it clear that they are still demoted. The Spurs have been fine without Leonard hanging in the playoff race of the West, but the Raptors are legitimate contenders at the finals.
"A normal person at work, if she no longer wants to work at this job, can easily give her 30-day notice and go somewhere else if that's what's best for her," said DeRozan. "I do not see why we should not be able to have the same right."
Popovich and DeRozan, of course, are 100% correct. Teams can exchange players without notice, at any time. It is right that this arrangement be a two-way street; otherwise, players and teams should be tied to each other for the duration of any contract.
Given the fervor of orders during the trading season, this will never happen. As a result, publicly traded players will likely become a new standard in the NBA.