NBA's Silver says no easy fix for rash of trade demands

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 20 2022 11:07 AM

NBA commissioner Adam Silver talks with a fan during the first half of the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at the Wolstein Center. Ken Blaze/Reuters
NBA commissioner Adam Silver talks with a fan during the first half of the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at the Wolstein Center. Ken Blaze/Reuters

NEW YORK -- Commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday he has no "silver bullet" to fix the problem of NBA stars dictating where they want to play by demanding trades to playoff contenders.

Silver was asked at the NBA all-star game in Cleveland if the league was investigating last week's trade between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, which saw James Harden join his third team in two seasons.

"There is no ongoing investigation right now," said Silver. "This notion of player empowerment is not a new issue.

"I have expressed my unhappiness before with public trade demands.

"There is no silver bullet... saying we are going to fix this problem."

In the aftermath of the blockbuster trade, some of Harden's basketball peers called him out on social media, alleging the former league MVP might have faked an injury to get out of Brooklyn.

"He wasn't hurt. He shut it down. Y'all think he's hurt right now?... You don't rehab a hammy by doing stepbacks," former league all-star Tracy McGrady said.

"We all know Philly was his first choice before he went to Brooklyn. So, when things hit the fan, he wanted out of there."

Silver was also asked by reporters about the situation regarding Ben Simmons, who in August 2021 demanded a trade out of Philadelphia and then stopped cooperating with the club. 

Instead of trading him right away, the 76ers fined and suspended him, forcing him to miss dozens of games.

Simmons was finally dealt along with Andre Drummond, Seth Curry and two future first-round picks, to Brooklyn in exchange for Harden and Paul Millsap. 

Silver said the league has not received any complaints about the Harden-Simmons trade from other teams, but he is concerned about league parity.

"No team has logged a formal complaint," Silver said. "We want players and teams to honor their contracts. In this case, we had two teams satisfied by the outcome of the trade. 

With Simmons, "there was a stalemate and he got traded. You have players with a unique skill on the planet and that gives them leverage," Silver added.

"There is a sense in the league that there are improvements we can make to our system to ensure every team is in a position to compete and that contracts are honored."

Silver said he expects the issue to come up at the next collective bargaining session between the owners and the players' union.

"We will continue to look at it but there is nothing immediate right now."

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