Kyrie Irving’s decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers after reaching three consecutive NBA Finals and winning one ring with the franchise that actually trusted him with the 1st overall pick despite missing most of his rookie season at Duke really shocked everybody, as Cleveland seemed as one of the most solid teams in the Eastern Conference to go back to the finals this season.
But, with the All-Star guard wanting out of one of the toughest teams in the Association, it really reminded us that pretty much everything can happen in today’s NBA, and these guys’ egos and personal agendas can make everybody change their plans in the blink of an eye.
And with everybody wanting to win a ring at all costs nowadays, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more stars wanting to get out of their current teams to pursue the trophy elsewhere.
Nevertheless, it would be shocking to watch some of the most respected players in the Association force a trade, but considering everything is possible at this point, let’s take a look at the top 5 guys that would shock you if they demanded to be traded.
5. Kawhi Leonard
Everybody wants to play for the San Antonio Spurs, being one of the most functional and respectable franchises in competitive sports, so it would be shocking to see anybody actually desiring to leave Pop.
And with Kawhi Leonard being their first, second and third option in both ends of the court, it would definitely be a huge surprise to see the future Most Valuable Player of the league forcing a move out of the Spurs.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Greek Freak was one of the most criticized picks a couple of seasons ago, as nobody had much footage of him and he looked really rough when the Milwaukee Bucks got him, so everybody thought they could’ve drafted him late in the second round instead of wasting a lottery pick on him.
Gladly, the youngster managed to quickly shut his doubters up, and considering how much he’s grown over the last couple of years, it would be understandable to see him wanting to win-now, but it would still shock everybody if he wanted to play elsewhere as the second or third choice instead of being Milwaukee’s franchise player.
3. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has always stated that he pretends to spend his entire career as the starting point guard of the Portland Trail Blazers, and even though the team has struggled to contend in the postseason, his determination to win there and only there seems locked.
And that’s precisely why it would be such a surprise to see Dame forcing a move out of Portland, especially considering how underrated he’s been through his entire career and the fact that he wants to prove his value with no more stars around him.
2. Russell Westbrook
The reigning MVP is coming off the best season of his career and one of the most impressive seasons in the history of basketball, immediately signing an extension with the team despite Kevin Durant's departure to the Golden State Warriors the prior offseason.
Nevertheless, even Russell Westbrook can get tired of never winning a Championship, and he could actually try to play elsewhere with pretty much every single team in the league keen to acquire him. Still, we just don’t see this happening, as Westbrook’s the type of player that would rather retire without a ring than piggy back riding other stars to win it.
1. James Harden
James Harden also proved his worth this prior season, becoming the league leader in assists and improving even his horrid defense, leading the Houston Rockets to become a legit championship threat in the Western Conference.
And the fact that he was already snubbed and underestimated at Oklahoma and that he just signed a 228 million dollar extension would make his trade request even more unlikely, but who knows, everything can happen at this point.