Most people don’t give NBA insiders the credit they deserve for working around the clock to give us the best information first hand, especially now that fake rumors can flood social media in no time.
Obviously, more often than not those rumors wind up being mere speculation, but every time someone talks about a superstar potentially leaving their team, it seems like it eventually happens just as predicted.
As a matter of fact, 9 out of the last 10 times a superstar was supposed to leave a franchise, they were actually traded or left as free agents, and today, we’re going to let you know everything about it.
10. Kevin Durant (July 2016)
Right after the Thunder choked on a 3-1 lead against the Golden State Warriors, speculation started to grow on whether their MVP was going to come back to try and win a Championship with the franchise.
Durant eventually decided to join the very same team that had beat him the prior campaign and drew a lot of hate from fans all over the world, stating that he had bailed on Westbrook and calling him a snake.
9. Chris Paul (June 2017)
Chris Paul wasn’t happy with the way the Clippers constantly underperformed in the playoffs, so he was rumored to leave the franchise before the Rockets pulled off a major blockbuster trade to get him.
Paul was dealt to Houston to join James Harden in return for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, cash considerations and a protected pick.
8. Jimmy Butler (June 2017)
Jimmy Butler wasn’t getting along with his young teammates and was angry at the franchise’s lack of ability to draw top-tier players and succeed in the playoffs, so naturally, he was rumored to leave for weeks.
Eventually, the team dealt him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in return for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the pick that wind up being Lauri Markkanen, a team the Bulls finally won for a change.
7. Paul George (July 2017)
Paul George was constantly bashing his teammates on social media and was determined to get out of the Pacers as soon as he could, so naturally, he was a no-brainer to be traded before the end of his contract.
When everybody thought the Lakers were going to pursue him on a trade, Sam Presti sent Victor Oladipo, Doug McDermott and Domantas Sabonis to the Pacers in return for the All-Star, a trade that worked out perfectly for every party involved.
6. Blake Griffin (January 2018)
This one actually came out of the blue a couple of hours before the Blake Griffin trade went down, as the Clippers had just signed him to a huge contract extension that was going to make them their franchise player.
Even so, following DeAndre Jordan’s and Chris Paul’s departure, the Clippers thought they were just ready to tank and traded away their star to the Detroit Pistons for Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, Tobias Harris and a couple of picks.
5. DeAndre Jordan (July 2018)
DeAndre Jordan was pretty close to leaving the Los Angeles Clippers a couple of years ago when he had verbally agreed to join the Dallas Mavericks before his teammates convinced him to stay.
Nonetheless, he was pretty clear on the fact that the team seemed reluctant to offer him a lucrative offer so he was a lock to walk away. Eventually, he joined those very same Dallas Mavericks.
4. Paul George (July 2018)
With the way the Oklahoma City Thunder choked against Utah in the playoffs and Paul George’s no-show in that elimination game, everybody assumed that he was going to join LeBron James in the Lakers.
That’s why we were all pretty surprised when George didn’t even look at his other options and decided to stay put with the Thunder, is the only time on our list that a rumor about a star leaving wasn’t true.
3. Kawhi Leonard (July 2018)
When we first got the news that Kawhi Leonard wanted to leave the Spurs, we just couldn’t believe it. I mean, who wants to leave the Spurs? Especially being their franchise player and already an NBA Champion?
Leonard stated his desire to play in Los Angeles but the Spurs eventually traded him and Danny Green to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 1st round pick, and even though it looks like it paid off for Toronto, we can’t still rest assured that he’s going to stay beyond this season.
2. LeBron James (July 2018)
LeBron James didn’t get along with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ownership and it looked like they were already sure he wasn’t going to stay beyond last season when they started trading for younger guys.
James was linked with a move to the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers for months so it wasn’t much of a surprise when he dressed in purple and gold as a free agent. The Cavs, on the other hand, are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
1. Jimmy Butler (November 2018)
Jimmy Butler once again makes our list because of his inability to get along with his teammates and his so-called desire to win. This time, he was going at it against Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Him bullying the team’s young core wasn’t going to last for much longer, so they sent him to Philadelphia with Justin Patton in return for Jerryd Bayless, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and a 2nd rounder.
We'll see who is the next one who will leave the franchise... Anthony Davis or John Wall?