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#pounditFriday, February 3, 2023

Report: NBA owners have growing concerns about superstar power

Adam Silver

For the third time in a year, an NBA superstar essentially used leverage to force himself out of a team’s plan, a growing trend which reportedly has some of the sport’s owners concerned.

Paul George successfully demanded a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder in order to play with Kawhi Leonard on the Los Angeles Clippers. This follows Jimmy Butler, who maneuvered his way out of Minnesota, and Anthony Davis, who forced the hand of the New Orleans Pelicans so he could play with LeBron James on the Lakers.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, this had been a growing concern for owners, and there had been some discussions about how to protect teams who have intricately planned out their futures from the whims of superstars who want to team up. That conversation will only intensify after George’s maneuvering.

In this instance, Thunder GM Sam Presti did well to exploit the situation, even if its development wasn’t necessarily to his advantage. The Pelicans largely did the same with Davis. It’s still not a precedent that owners like, but no league offers players more power than the NBA. To them, that’s a perk.

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