ciueli wrote:Players have the power now and it will never change, there's no rule that can be introduced or enforced that can fix this, the Vince Carter situation the Raptors had in the early 2000s proves this. Once a player decides to intentionally play below their capability as Vince did, the team has 3 options:
1) Keep playing the player, keep losing games, keep lowering the trade value of the player.
2) Immediately trade the player for less than the player is worth.
3) Sit the player and do nothing, effectively destroying the team from a competitiveness and morale standpoint.
No team should ever let it get to that point, all of those are bad outcomes. The correct moves when a superstar player demands a trade are:
1) Try to convince the player to stay, explore all trade options to improve the team (this worked with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers). Houston has done this and they are not a competitive team, it's very likely they will be worse than last season even if Harden stays and plays to the best of his abilities.
2) Failing 1), immediately shop the player and take the best deal available. This is where Houston is making a big mistake. They are following the path of Rob Babcock who thought he could just ignore Vince's trade demand. He was wrong and wound up taking option 3) above, a horrible return for a player who was one of the most popular players in the NBA at the time.
the team doesn't have many tools, but the league as a whole can have all the leverage of the world, unless a player is willing to go to Europe or to China.
If, somehow, Harden gets banned for some time he'll face significant losses, both economically and in terms of legacy, wasting precious prime years.
That's why you have those different sources, outside the Rockets organization, calling for the league to do something.