At his press conference after the NBA’s Board of Governor’s Meetings in Las Vegas, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was asked about Kevin Durant requesting the Brooklyn Nets trade him. His response was clear: he’s not for players asking out.
“We don’t like to see players requesting trades and seeing it play out the way it is,” per the Washington Posts’s Ben Golliver. “The basketball was fantastic this past season. I don’t want to be naïve, but I would love the focus to be on the play.” He added that he’d like to find ‘remedies’ in talking to the NBPA about players not asking out early in their contracts in the next round of CBA negotiations.
Silver’s comments on players demanding trades aren’t new. On All-Star weekend last February, Silver said that players asking out was ‘bad for the league’. So it’s not a shock that he’s not thrilled about Durant asking out with four years left on his contract with the Nets.
What feels notable here is saying he’d like to work with the NBPA to find ways for players to not ask out of their contracts right after they’ve signed them. The counter the players will surely make is that teams can trade them at basically any time with a few restrictions. They’ll reasonably argue that them demanding out on their terms is simply taking back from power from the owners. It’s also a problem that only reasonably affects the NBA’s top-end players like Durant who have enough sway to ask out.
That certainly makes a solution that works for everyone hard to figure out, but it’s clear that the league’s ownership isn’t happy with the current state of affairs with regards to stars asking out and will make that a bargaining chip in the next labor negotiations.