We all know that the inmates run the proverbial asylum in the National Basketball Association. If an elite star player wants to leave his current team and situation, he can use the media to not only force his way out, but often times force his way to a team of his choosing. Obviously the teams that are fortunate enough to have these superstars must do whatever they can to keep them happy, so long as the player doesn’t hold the franchise hostage in terms of personnel demands (i.e.- 2011-2012 Orlando Magic).
Reasonably intelligent basketball people can tell that Miami’s LeBron James is the best player in the world. Even his most staunch critics and detractors alike will acquiesce that James is a generational talent that maybe hasn’t been seen before.
But does that make James the most untradeable player in the NBA?
Here is our list of the most untradeable players in The Association and why.
5) Chris Paul
Why? Chris Paul makes every player on his team better as he is the best true point guard the league has seen since John Stockton. Paul’s contract is up at season’s end and the L.A. Clippers, who acquired him with some assistance from David Stern’s divine intervention, might just be his best option, not only financially but in terms of playing for a winner. Chris Paul himself has brought the Clips out of the Lakers shadow to the most exciting show in town. At 27 years old, Paul still has a full max contract left of good years and can propel a team to a title with the proper supporting cast.
4) James Harden
Why? It’s interesting the the number 5 and number 4 players on the most untradeable list have already been traded. James Harden’s departure from Oklahoma City was almost completely based on finances and the lack thereof with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook already on the books with big money deals. Harden has proven in Houston that he’s a legitimate top scoring threat and he can do a little of everything. He’s the typical “crafty” southpaw who can create off the dribble or spot up. His individual excellence hasn’t produced many wins for the Rockets but with some better pieces around him he can be the centerpiece of a championship team for years to come. At 23 years old Harden’s best days are clearly ahead of him and right now there are very few players that Houston would take in a deal for the third-year All-Star from Arizona State.
3) Kyrie Irving
Why? Is a superstar really a superstar even if nobody knows it? That’s the question that is answered affirmatively with Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. Irving may be the very best point guard in the NBA in just his second season and he is a cornerstone for the rebuilding of the Cleveland franchise. Irving can score with anyone (24.0 ppg) and is an above average defender at the point guard position. Irving is the type of player a franchise can build around and although he’s not LeBron James, he is a player who will get Cleveland back to the postseason.
2) LeBron James
Why? LeBron James is simply the best basketball player in the world and he may be the best individual athlete in the world. If there was ever any question about the true value of the three-time league MVP, all you have to do is look at Cleveland’s win total during his final season (61) and the year after (19). James makes everyone on his team better and could be the best player in the league at four different positions (as well as the best defender). To put it simply, in a player-for-player trade, there is no equal value for LeBron James.
1) Kevin Durant
Why? Kevin Durant is not as good of a baskeball player as LeBron James is, but he’s the clear number 2. The reason he’s at the top of this list is the age disparity between James and he (28-24). Durant is an all-time great already and he’s the best scorer in the game at 6-foot-9. Durant doesn’t depend as much on his athleticism as James does which leads one to believe he will have greater longevity taking into account the four-year age disparity.