Excellent information from Marc Stein of ESPN.com in his weekend column, where he details the circumstances surrounding the ability of various players to either block or veto a trade involving them this season.
There are 19 players in total that can throw a wrench in their respective team’s trade talks if they so choose, due to either no-trade clauses built into veteran contracts or rules that are in place in the most recent collective bargaining agreement.
There are four players with full-blown no-trade clauses built into their contracts — a privilege that comes to players who have eight seasons in the league, and four with the same team, and only when the clause is specifically negotiated into a new deal.
Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan all fall into this category — as if we expected any of them to be changing teams this season, anyway.
The next category features players who were signed by teams in restricted free agency, and thus can’t be traded without their consent for a year after their offer sheet was matched. There are only two players who meet this criteria, but they’re both names who you wouldn’t be shocked to hear surface in trade talks — Nicolas Batum of the Blazers, and Eric Gordon of the Hornets.
The remaining 13 players who can say no to a trade earned that right by signing one-year deals with their previous team for this year. The reason is because their free-agent Bird rights would be forfeited if traded elsewhere by the end of the season.
The players in this category are as follows:
Ivan Johnson (Atlanta)
Brandon Rush (Golden State)
Chauncey Billups (Los Angeles Clippers)
Devin Ebanks (Los Angeles Lakers)
Darius Morris (Los Angeles Lakers)
Marreese Speights (Memphis)
J.R. Smith (New York)
J.J. Hickson (Portland)
Boris Diaw (San Antonio)
Patty Mills (San Antonio)
Alan Anderson (Toronto)
Aaron Gray (Toronto)
Cartier Martin (Washington)
Ebanks and Morris are interesting names, for the simple fact that they’re playing for a Lakers team that may try to make a deadline deal, and in the process may need to throw in some lesser players to make something work. Same thing with Alan Anderson and Aaron Gray of the Raptors, in case the team should be able to find a taker for Andrea Bargnani before this season’s Feb. 21 deadline should pass.
Other than that, there aren’t a lot of players on this list who you’d expect to be dealt, but it’s certainly something worth keeping in mind as trade talks heat up around the league and the deadline approaches.