League dynamics are changing within the world of professional sports, and it’s not a good thing. Most prevalent in the NBA, as well as the NFL, is the emerging shift of power to players over front offices.
I am all for players’ rights, but these rights are being stretched too far. It has come to a point within professional sports that if a player is unhappy, he can complain, request a trade and get his way.
These problems have occurred out of money disputes with players like Le’Veon Bell, and players unhappy with their teams, like Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio and Anthony Davis in New Orleans.Superstars now can get whatever they want.
Because it has become a recurring theme, it is becoming normalized among the top professional sports leagues. General managers (GM) are being forced to succumb to the pressure of their superstar athletes because players have more leverage today than they used to.
Tensions arise when a general manager does not let a player act freely; the team and the player both become unhappy, and all dynamics are thrown off. An example of this is Paul George. Just this offseason, George was on the Oklahoma City Thunder, but when he heard of Kawhi Leonard joining the Clippers, he wanted to join forces.
George was in the middle of his contract, but requested a trade, and his GM and owner had no other option but to trade him. They had to trade him, or else he would leave in free agency, or worse, sit out a season because he was unhappy.
In a minute, this changed the look of the Thunder and the NBA.
If a player is on a team, they should play for them. They are contractually obliged to do so. They should give the team full effort because that’s what the team, GM, owner and player all deserve. There should not be threatening to sit out or disputes with teammates out of unhappiness. It’s childish.
Anthony Davis did it by requesting a trade midseason and creating awkward tension and a bad situation when he wasn’t traded at the deadline.
Antonio Brown did the same thing by doing all he could to get a trade and get out of the Raiders organization.
“They’re disheartening to the team,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said about trade requests. “They’re disheartening to the community and don’t serve the player well.” Player relationships in today’s sports world have become more prevalent. Players are always talking and there is more interaction with social media. This has caused more players to team up like Anthony Davis and LeBron James, or Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
I’ve always said LeBron James is like a GM. He runs whatever team he is on like a GM. Everyone else in the organization is irrelevant because he does whatever he wants. During the 2018 trade deadline, the Cavs dumped half their team, which was probably Lebron James’ doing. He has the power of a general manager.
Sports are becoming more player-based, where superstar players are almost more important than the team themselves. The NFL and NBA keep advancing significantly, and players are getting better and better. But that doesn’t mean they should be able to control their GM and get whichever way they want. GM’s and owners have a job, and that is to run their team.
Players should not be running teams; they should be playing and superstars should not have all the power to dictate whatever they want to.