Could trade requests like Kevin Durant’s be next NBA CBA issue? Adam Silver hints that it could

Adam Silver NBA CBA
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at the start of the the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

While the Nets try and decide what they’re going to do with Kevin Durant following his trade request late last month, the ripple effect of that could have broader implications.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver indicated during a press conference in Las Vegas that the league will look to solve the growing trend of superstar players forcing their way out of organizations. Durant’s trade request didn’t appear to be something that Silver was too thrilled about when the subject was broached.

“Look, this needs to be a two-way street,” Silver said. “Teams provide enormous security and guarantees to players and the expectation is, in return, they will meet their end of the bargain. I’m realistic that there’s always conversations that are going to go on behind closed doors between players and their representatives and the teams. But we don’t like to see players requesting trades, and we don’t like to see it playing out the way it is.

“I mean, ideally, especially as I was just saying in response to the last question, the basketball was fantastic this past season, the playoffs, we had a wonderful Finals. I don’t want to be naïve, but I would love the focus to be on the play on the floor.”

It was not the first time that Silver had voiced his displeasure about player movement happening in this fashion. He had called it a bad look for the league back in February and it seems like an issue that he would like to tackle during the next CBA.

It just so happens that the league and NBA Players Association both have an opt-out clause in the current agreement this winter. 

Kevin Durant Winners and losers from NBA Free Agency
FILE – Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant is shown during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center, Sunday, Apr. 10, 2022, in New York.AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

“We intend to discuss with our Players Association and see if there are remedies for this,” Silver said. “It will never be the case when players won’t be unhappy in certain situations, but we don’t want to see it playing out the way it is now. I think it is something where there is mutuality of interests between the players collectively and the league, having more stability. So that’s something we’ll be discussing with the union.”

Silver told reporters that it had not been a topic that was discussed during the NBA Board of Governors meeting that took place on Tuesday in Vegas and he described conversations around the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the NBAPA as being at the beginning stages. 

The NBA commissioner expects Durant to play next season if a trade isn’t made, but the topic has become more of an issue especially after James Harden forced his way out of Brooklyn in a deal for Ben Simmons, who also had wanted out of Philadelphia.

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 “It takes both us and the Players Association sitting down and I think acknowledging the principles that are at stake here, and that is the sanctity of contracts and the desire for stability that affects not just that player but other players as well,” Silver said. “I am hopeful. We have a very productive relationship with our Players Association. We are not necessarily going to completely eliminate players asking to be moved, but we are going to find a way to move the attention back on to the court.”

Tuesday was the first mention of the player movement issue and the CBA in the same sentence and it likely won’t be the last of it. Whether or not it will become a big part of CBA talks going forward is yet to be seen as NBAPA president Tamika Tremaglio still gets situated to the position she was hired for last September.