But NBA trade requests are far more common than many people realize.
Start at the end of the bench. Many deep reserves believe they’d have a bigger role on another team. But don’t stop there. Plenty of players wind up in a situation that isn’t ideal. While most of those players continue with their current team without making headlines, they’d still welcome a trade – and often communicate that to the front office.
Take Josh Richardson. The 76ers got him from the Heat in the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade last year because Richardson offered positive return for a free agent Philadelphia could lose anyway and had a salary low enough that allowed the 76ers to also sign Al Horford. But Richardson didn’t shoot quite well enough to fit optimally with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Richardson was just the good player who was available to Philadelphia at the time.
Agent Bill Duffy – who, along with Erik Kabe – represents Josh Richardson, via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:
“When Josh was traded [by Miami] to Philadelphia, it was an awkward fit for him just because of the composition of the team,” Duffy says of the sign-and-trade that sent Jimmy Butler from Philadelphia to Miami. “Josh has an opt-out after this year, so Erik and I were pretty candid with Philly that it was pretty unlikely he’d return, ‘so maybe you should have discussions.’”
While encouraging the Sixers to consider trade options, Kabe and Duffy of course consulted Richardson.
“Where is the No. 1 place you want to go and play?” they asked him.
“Dallas,” he immediately responded.
If you take Duffy at his word, Richardson got his wish. (Players and agents often inflate how much someone wants to be with his current team.) The 76ers traded Richardson and the No. 36 pick to the Mavericks for Seth Curry.
If still with the 76ers, Richardson probably would have continued to act professionally. But because he communicated his desires to Philadelphia management, everyone comes out ahead.