What do Patrick Ewing, Dominique Wilkins, John Stockton and Reggie Miller all have in common? They’re all legendary players and considered elite, but they were never able to actually win an NBA Championship due to their loyalty to their teams, preferring to lose on their own terms instead of joining other stars to create superteams.
Nevertheless, it’s getting more and more common every year that veterans and star caliber players “take his talents" (no pun intended, LeBron) elsewhere in order to chase their dreams of becoming NBA Champions, even if they’re one of the league's best players.
So, after looking at what Kevin Durant did at the end of the season when he signed with the Golden State Warriors - the very same team that knocked them out of the Western Conference Finals just a couple of months ago - we’ll take a look at 5 players that should seriously consider a move out of their current teams if they actually want to win an NBA ring before their prime is over.
The All-Star Small Forward keeps improving his game in almost every single category on a yearly basis, and even if it feels like we still haven’t seen the best from the seven year, two-way player, Larry Bird has constantly failed to put together a decent team around him even despite signing some pretty talented players to try and compete with the Miami Heat and now the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So, even if George has taken a step forward on a personal level, his team has actually regressed a lot from the Frank Vogel era, and they currently own the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, but their inconsistency and lack of direction are very likely to end George’s tenure there, as the All-Star should definitely get the hell out of Indiana if he actually intends to transcend in NBA history.
Butler is one of the league’s best two-way players and perimeter defenders, being one of the few guys in the world that can actually say that they can contain LeBron James (if that’s actually a possibility). So now, averaging career highs in almost everything, he’s actually the only consistent and reliable player for the Chicago Bulls team that seems lost and destined to disaster due to the lack of synchronicity between Paxson, Forman and Fred Hoiberg.
The 6 year veteran was a huge trade target since the last draft and up until the trade deadline, but even if Butler stayed at the United Center, the Bulls should totally look to move him, as he’s the only valuable asset they own in order to finally rebuild the roster after letting Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Derrick Rose walk away; and Butler should actually demand them to do so if he wants to become an NBA Champion.
One of the league’s best Power Forwards needs to get the hell out of Atlanta if he intends to be an important piece on a Championship winning team, as the 32-year-old isn’t getting any younger and we all know he has 0 chance of becoming a champion with Mike Budenholzer’s team and the lack of support he gets since the departure of Al Horford.
With averages of 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1 block per game on 44.3% shooting and 31.4% from three, Millsap would be a huge asset for pretty much any contending NBA team, and he should look forward to signing with any of them if he doesn’t want his career to end without jewellery.
It’s not a secret to anybody that Melo desires to end his career as a New York Knick, but considering how poorly managed the franchise has been recently, and the fact that he has a huge personal feud with Phil Jackson, the leading scorer in Team USA’s history should lift his trade veto clause and demand a trade out of the Madison Square Garden, as his best years seem to be far behind him.
The 14 season veteran and one of the league’s best scorers is averaging 22.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists on 43.5% shooting, but he’s been clearly unhappy over the course of the season, as well as being always portraying the team’s scapegoat due to his lack of commitment to the triangle offense. He should be looking forward to escaping from that toxic environment in order to chase a ring with his longtime friends Chris Paul or LeBron James and end his career on a high note.
Coach Snyder has totally taken the youth of the Utah Jazz to a whole new level with his roster, and with the eruption of Rudy Gobert as a defensive stalwart in the paint, the Jazz have become a legit threat to pretty much everybody in the West, although they’re still pretty far away from becoming championship contenders.
So now that the 27-year-old Gordon Hayward is set to face free agency after playing the best season of his entire career, he should definitely look at his options, as he’ll have a way bigger chance to become an NBA champion if he made a move to the Boston Celtics, who are reportedly very high on him and have emerged as the biggest threat in the East against LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers.
Averaging 22 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1 steal on 46.5% from the field, and 39.2% from three, the former Butler product is set to be one of the most desired assets in this upcoming free agency, and he should definitely leave the Jazz if he wants to take that final leap of improvement and become one of the league’s elite two-way players, as he definitely has the potential of turning a very good team into a completely terrifying one.