4 NBA stars who demanded a trade that didn’t happen

Kobe Bryant, NBA (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant, NBA (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The NBA is now fully entrenched in one of the seemingly annual offseason traditions. The disgruntled stars have put in their trade requests, and now they and the rest of us are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. This time it’s two primary ball handlers, James Harden and Damian Lillard.

With any hopes of quick deals getting done now long gone, there seems to be a stalemate between each’s respective organization and the players. Both point guards have specified desired locations, but the front offices have made it clear they won’t accommodate unless they receive a good haul back.

So as the rumor mill has gone quiet it raises the question: Has a star player’s trade request ever been denied? What are some of the trades that were requested but never happened?

NBA Star #4: Kevin Love

Kevin Love’s tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers saw some of the highest highs and lowest lows of any star’s career. Love was a key player for the Cavs upon arrival. He was a major contributing factor to several finals runs, including one championship in 2016. But after Kyrie Irving was traded and Lebron James left for the Lakers, Love found himself to be the last man standing on a rebuilding team and he clearly wasn’t happy.

Although Love never officially requested a trade, in 2019, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported he would prefer a move to a contending team. Because of Love’s large contract at the time, and lack of a good trade partner, a deal was never found.

But instead of sulking, well after a little sulking, Love revolutionized his game. He came off the bench for Cleveland in the 2021-2022 season, giving minutes to the Cavs young core. Instead of insisting on a trade, he thrived as a sixth man, averaging 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds, finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year voting. He adapted to the situation he was in, which no doubt helped his relationship with the team, leading to a buyout of Love’s deal for him to join Miami on their finals run the next year in 2023.