Superstar players wanting to team up together and going to great lengths to make that happen has become an increasingly common theme in the modern day NBA, and one of the greatest coaches of all time has mixed emotions about it.
With Kirstaps Porzingis having been traded on Thursday and Anthony Davis publicly asking the New Orleans Pelicans to find a new home for him, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked about the trend of star players demanding trades. While the five-time NBA champion said he can understand why it would be bad for the league, he sides with players who want to better their personal situations.
Gregg Popovich acknowledges that the trend of star players demanding trades might have negative, “deleterious” effects on the NBA. But “Having said all that, I still have to side with individuals doing what they want with the rest of their lives.”
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) January 31, 2019
Popovich, of course, is quite familiar with having a superstar player who wants out. Kawhi Leonard did everything he could to force the Spurs to trade him, and he eventually got his wish. The circumstances with Porzingis and the New York Knicks seemed similar, and Anthony Davis is likely to have his wish granted at some point between now and next year’s NBA trade deadline.
Some prominent basketball people are calling for the NBA to intervene in situations like the one with Davis, but it’s unclear what the league could do. Teams want to recoup assets if players have no intention of sticking around long-term, and that is what gives superstars like Davis leverage.