If you’re a Pelicans fan still miffed that Anthony Davis demanded a trade out of New Orleans, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver feels your pain.
Speaking at an NBA media conference Tuesday in New York City, Silver was asked about the issue of players under contract requesting trades, as Davis did last season and more recently, as Paul George did with Oklahoma City.
Silver doesn’t like it, but admits there’s no simple solution.
“First of all, you know of course that’s nothing new in the league in terms of trade demands,” Silver said. “But it concerns all of us. I mean, it falls in the same category of issues of the so-called rule of law within a sports league. You have a contract and it needs to be meaningful on both sides. On one hand, there’s an expectation if you have a contract and it’s guaranteed that the team is going to meet the terms of the contract, and the expectation on the other side is the player is going to meet the terms of the contract.
“I will say, without getting into any specific circumstances, trade demands are disheartening. They’re disheartening to the team. They’re disheartening to the community and don’t serve the player well. The players care about their reputations just as much.”
Silver is right, in that players demanding trades are nothing new, not in the NBA or even other professional sports. The Davis situation last season, however, was unusual in that the Pelicans threatened to shut down the All-Star midseason to avoid injury. The NBA countered by saying Davis had to play if healthy.
But the issue of trade demands remains.
“That’s an issue that needs to be addressed,” Silver said. “There’s not a simple solution there. This is a talent-driven business. Players have leverage. They have economic power of their own. But that’s what Collective Bargaining Agreements are for, to sit down and come up with a sit of rules that are sensible and fair for everyone.”