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NBA Trade Policy – stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

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Over the last 3 or 4 years, there have been a few huge trades that have stirred the NBA pot and made things a little more exciting. But that is just it, there were only a few. Shaq went to Heat, Iverson went to the Nuggets and Garnett went to the Celtics. Not only did these trades benefit Miami, Denver and Boston on the court, but their respective pocketbooks received a huge lift as the incoming stars have attracted more and more fans to the arenas. So, if there are so many upsides to high-profile trades, why don’t they happen more frequently? The answer? The NBA has a ridiculous trade policy.

Unlike other sports where a team can simply buy out the contract of opposing teams’ players, the NBA’s trade policy makes things a little more difficult. For instance, when Iverson went to the Nuggets, he went there along with Ivan McFarlin. In return, the 76ers got Andre Miller, Joe Smith and 2 future draft picks. Do you think that the Nuggets necessarily cared about Ivan McFarlin at the the beginning of the trade talks? No Way! So, why was he included? Because according to the NBA trade policy, the salaries of the players being traded must match. That’s why Kevin Garnett was traded to the Celtics for 6 players – Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastia Telfair and a 2009 Draft Pick. That was half of Boston’s team. Now, as the LA Lakers try to trade Kobe Bryant, a player whose salary is equal to the GDP of many small countries, it is going to take a miracle to pull off. The Lakers wanted to trade him to the Bulls, but getting both teams to agree upon which players are equivalent in terms of talent and salaries is a very difficult process. I bet that if the Bulls had the option to pay straight cash for Kobe, they would do it in a heartbeat. However, they cannot. So, at least for now Kobe will remain a Laker.


In my opinion, the NBA should change its rules. Matching salaries is just ridiculous. If a team or player wants to implement a trade, there should be as few obstacles in their way as possible. However, for the time being that is not the case. Consequently,  NBA fans may see  fewer and fewer trades and more and more disgruntled superstars in the future if things do not change.

Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales for Robbins Sports and Athletics, an online resource for a wide array of sporting goods, including Punching Bags, Basketball Uniforms and Stopwatches.