A player’s tenure is hardly discussed in the modern NBA because players are constantly moving around to find situations that suit them best. Quite frankly, player movement and a seeming lack of loyalty are creating a new era of basketball where superteams rule above all. One has to admit, that makes for some exciting storylines.
We have compiled a list of every NBA franchise with each of its most tenured players. Some inclusions may be surprising due to constant roster changes, while others won't be surprising because their names have been synonymous for one franchise for a very long time. Without further ado, here is the longest-tenured player per team during the 2021-2022 season.
Atlanta Hawks - John Collins - 5 Seasons
The talented offensive forward was signed to big money to remain with the franchise, and he is still the longest-tenured Atlanta Hawk. Collins is a natural at scoring the ball inside, and he is improving his outside shot as well. The 2018 All-Rookie is having a strong year averaging 17.5 PPG and 7.9 RPG, and he is a perfect piece alongside Trae Young in an uptempo Hawks offense. Despite the team’s struggles this season, Collins has been a bright spot.
Boston Celtics - Marcus Smart - 8 Seasons
Marcus Smart was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2014 as the No. 6 overall pick. The stocky guard made the All-Rookie Team thanks to his defensive play and has since made 2 All-Defensive Teams with the Celtics. Even if Smart ruffled some feathers earlier this season by going after stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, he is the longest-tenured player with the franchise. That might change if a deal for a third All-Star comes along this season.
Brooklyn Nets - Joe Harris - 6 Seasons
Joe Harris has come a long way since getting drafted in the second round of the 2014 NBA draft. Harris never averaged double-digits in scoring until the 2018 season, and he became one of the best shooters in the NBA last season. Harris’ shooting was enough to convince the Nets to fork out over $70 million to him, and it has not quite panned out yet. Still, the sharpshooter is the longest-tenured player on a very talented Nets roster.
Charlotte Hornets - Miles Bridges - 4 Seasons
One of the contenders for Most Improved Player, Miles Bridges is averaging 19.5 PPG and 7.3 RPG for the Charlotte Hornets this season. An explosive forward who forms a nice partnership with LaMelo Ball, he should remain in Charlotte for the foreseeable future because his improvements have been off the page.
Chicago Bulls - Zach LaVine - 5 Seasons
The current franchise player for the Chicago Bulls, Zach LaVine is the longest-tenured player for the team. LaVine is having another All-Star season by averaging 25.7 PPG, and his partnership with DeMar DeRozan is the best since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen days. The shooting guard is an elite talent, and he keeps getting better by the year.
Cleveland Cavaliers - Kevin Love - 8 Seasons
Kevin Love has had a longer tenure with the Cavaliers than he did with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Love was a superstar with Minnesota and was a key part of the Big Three in Cleveland that won the NBA title in 2016. Despite being in trade talks for the past few seasons, the big man is having a solid season averaging 14.2 PPG and 7.4 RPG for the up-and-coming Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
Dallas Mavericks - Dwight Powell - 8 Seasons
Dwight Powell has been a Dallas Maverick for a long time now, as he nears completion of 8 seasons with the team. The 6'10" big man was mainly a paint protector and rebounder who is slowly expanding his offensive game. The big man is not an untouchable asset for the team, because Dallas will move heaven and earth to acquire a star to help Luka Doncic on the court. For now, the 30-year-old has started almost every game this season and that could bode well for his future in Dallas.
Denver Nuggets - Will Barton - 8 Seasons
Reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic was a surprising pick by the Nuggets in the second round of the 2014 NBA draft and has become the franchise’s cornerstone. But the center has only completed 7 seasons with the Nuggets because Will Barton has 8 seasons under his belt with Denver. The energetic wingman has become a starter for Denver, using his shooting and athleticism to constantly put pressure on the opponent’s defenses.
Detroit Pistons - Killian Hayes, Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, Frank Jackson, Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson, Cory Joseph, Saben Lee - 2 Seasons
Second-year guard Killian Hayes is (tied with 8 other players) the longest-tenured Detroit Piston. That is surprising if you do not take a massive roster overhaul into consideration. The 20-year-old has a ton of potential, although he is only averaging 26.0 MPG this season. Hayes has a chance to form a long-term partnership with No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham because they have the size and skills to be impactful in the future. Role players Frank Jackson, Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson, Cory Joseph have also played 2 seasons with the Pistons, along with fringe All-Star Jerami Grant who will likely be traded at some point. Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart also look like long-term options for the Pistons, who want to go young and develop while they tank for picks.
Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry - 13 Seasons
Mr. Golden State Warrior himself, Stephen Curry has been a loyal servant to Golden State for over a decade now. The point guard has officially broken the all-time record for most threes made, an incredible achievement for the 2-time MVP and 3-time NBA champion. Curry has carved a career out of being an unstoppable perimeter force, and nobody in history has made it look easier than him.
Houston Rockets - Eric Gordon - 6 Seasons
Eric Gordon has always been an effective 6th man who can get buckets at will, and he has been doing it consistently for 6 straight seasons with the Rockets. Even when playing on a tanking Houston Rockets team, Gordon has remained relatively consistent (14.4 PPG on 43.6% 3-PT FG) and is the official closer of the squad in crunch time. Gordon probably belongs on a contending team considering he is 33 years old, but he is a Rocket for the time being.
Indiana Pacers - Myles Turner - 7 Seasons
Drafted as a 19-year-old with the No. 11 pick in the 2015 draft, Turner has had a solid career with the Pacers. The shot-blocking extraordinaire is a solid player who is still only 25 years of age, so it is only natural he receives a lot of attention in trade talks. Despite being the longest-tenured Pacer on the squad, Turner is the most likely player on the team to be traded before this season’s trade deadline.
Los Angeles Clippers - Ivica Zubac - 4 Seasons
The Los Angeles Clippers have undergone a massive roster overhaul as of last season, as they try to compete with the best teams in the league with a dynamic duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. With both stars injured, the Clippers season is probably a wrap. The longest-tenured player is Ivica Zubac, the center who was given to the Clippers by Magic Johnson and the Lakers not too long ago.
Los Angeles Lakers - LeBron James - 4 Seasons
Believe it or not, LeBron James is the longest-tenured Laker with 4 seasons under his belt. The King is carrying a heavy load once again in his career, putting up spectacular performances in Los Angeles to keep them fighting for a playoff spot. His team is clearly a disaster this year, but LeBron is proving his worth as the longest-tenured Laker and the greatest talent of his era.
Memphis Grizzlies - Dillon Brooks - 5 Seasons
Streaky scorer Dillon Brooks has been in Memphis for 5 seasons, the longest of any player playing for the Grizzlies. Alongside superstar Ja Morant and the ever-improving Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks is playing some effective basketball in Memphis. The swingman is averaging 18.4 PPG this season, strong numbers for a two-way player who is only 25 years old.
Miami Heat - Udonis Haslem - 19 Seasons
Udonis Haslem is the longest active player in the NBA right now, playing almost 2 decades with one team. Even if the big man has averaged under 12 MPG for the past 7 seasons (including this one), his presence as a locker room leader and player-coach is invaluable. Haslem’s presence has allowed the Miami Heat to keep its culture, which is why he will continue getting signed to a roster spot.
Milwaukee Bucks - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton - 9 Seasons
Giannis Antetokounmpo is not only the best player in the city of Milwaukee but also the longest-tenured player. The Greek Freak has been with the Bucks for 9 years so far and he has pledged his loyalty (seemingly forever) to the city that took a chance on him with the No. 15 pick in the 2013 draft. Giannis is already one of the greatest Bucks players ever and has his sights set on the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson as the greatest talent to ever play in Milwaukee. Alongside him is Khris Middleton, the sidekick that helped the Bucks capture the 2021 NBA championship. Giannis and Khris were given the keys to the team many years ago, and that has worked out perfectly well until this point.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Karl-Anthony Towns - 7 Seasons
Minnesota's franchise player Karl-Anthony Towns is their longest-tenured player. Towns was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft and has shown flashes of being a superstar talent. The big man is having another great season (24.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG) with the team, and should remain in Minnesota as long as the franchise is dedicated to winning with Towns and Anthony Edwards forming a dynamic duo.
New Orleans Pelicans - Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker - 3 Seasons
The longest-tenured player (tied) on the Pelicans is also the face of the franchise. Zion Williamson, despite missing the entire season so far, is the best player on the team with the most experience alongside Brandon Ingram, Jaxson Hayes, and Josh Hart. Williamson was an All-Star in his second season, averaging 26.9 PPG, and he should be the superstar in New Orleans for the foreseeable future. Williamson needs to lose weight and keep healthy because he could be the face of the league in just a few years. He does have help with Ingram, Hart, and Hayes who have all been with the franchise for 3 years to date.
New York Knicks - Mitchell Robinson - 4 Seasons
The athletic center has yet to blossom into a capable offensive player for the Knicks, but he is still averaging 8.0 PPG and 8.1 RPG in his 4th season with the franchise. It might be best for the 23-year-old to play somewhere else because a change of scenery could give him the opportunity to showcase the versatility he showed in his second season.
Oklahoma City Thunder - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lugentz Dort, Darius Bazley, Mike Muscala, Isiah Roby - 3 Seasons
The fact that 3 core pieces under 24 years old are the longest-tenured players for the Oklahoma City Thunder shows the direction the franchise is heading. None of the young core have developed into bonafide All-Stars yet, although they have plenty of time to do so. Bazley and Roby join a young core featuring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lugentz Dort to earn experience and face growing pains in the franchise’s favor. Veteran Mike Muscala has also been a part of the Thunder franchise for 3 years.
Orlando Magic - Terrence Ross - 6 Seasons
Terrence Ross has been in the NBA for 10 years so far, spotting the 2017 season with the Raptors and Magic. Counting his 2017 season, Ross is the longest-tenured Magic player on a team that is in complete rebuild mode. When looking at the Magic, no player will be on the roster long-term except Jonathan Isaac and probably Rookie of the Year candidate Franz Wagner. Either way, Ross might not be on the roster for much longer considering trade talks have been heating up.
Philadelphia 76ers - Joel Embiid - 8 Seasons
The No.3 pick in the 2014 draft, Joel Embiid was given plenty of time to overcome injuries that kept him out of the first two years of his career. Embiid has rewarded Philadelphia for exceptional play at the center position, making the last 4 All-Star Teams and creating a title-contending roster. Embiid will need help to get the franchise over the hump, and that might start with Ben Simmons finally getting traded.
Phoenix Suns - Devin Booker - 7 Seasons
Surprisingly, 25-year old Devin Booker is the longest-tenured player on the Phoenix Suns. That goes to show how young the team is, and also how Booker has elevated his game at such a young age. The shooting guard has become one of the best offensive players in the NBA and has Finals experience under his belt after last year’s playoff run. Booker can be one of the best players in the world in due time and should be a Phoenix Suns player for his entire career.
Portland Trail Blazers - Damian Lillard - 10 Seasons
The superstar and franchise player of the Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard is also the longest-tenured star in the league. That is no surprise considering how loyal the point guard has been to the city of Portland, through thick and thin. There are rumors that the superstar will sit out the entire season, meaning Portland needs to make moves to improve the roster before the 6-time All-Star forces a trade elsewhere.
Sacramento Kings - Buddy Hield - 6 Seasons
When looking at Sacramento, they have undergone a ton of changes over the past few years. The Kings haven't been in the playoffs since 2006, but Buddy Hield, the No. 6 pick in the 2016 draft, has been one bright spot alongside De’Aaron Fox. The sharpshooter was awarded a hefty deal by the Kings and has played well this year (15.4 PPG), but teams will be scrambling to trade for him before the trade deadline.
San Antonio Spurs - Dejounte Murray - 6 Seasons
The lanky point guard is one of the brightest young players in the league this season, putting up 18.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 8.9 APG for the Spurs. Even if San Antonio is one of the worst teams in the league, Murray is consistently one of the brightest performers and also the longest-tenured player with the franchise.
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet - 6 Seasons
With Kyle Lowry in Miami, Pascal Siakam is now the longest-tenured player for the Raptors. Not to mention, he is their franchise player and the best player ahead of Fred VanVleet and rookie Scottie Barnes. The versatile power forward does a lot of things well on the court, and he seems back to All-Star form again this season. VanVleet has also been a Raptor for 6 years and was a critical part of the title run in 2019 due to his two-way play.
Utah Jazz - Rudy Gobert - 9 Seasons
In Utah, Rudy Gobert is the longest-tenured player. The 27th pick in the 2013 draft, Gobert has remained with the franchise for his entire career so far. The Frenchman has blossomed into one of the best centers in the league and is having an incredible season on the defensive end (career-high 15.1 RPG and 2.3 BPG).
Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal - 10 Seasons
Bradley Beal is the longest-tenured Wizard, unsurprisingly. The shooting guard is having another great season (24.0 PPG), although his team has struggled over the last few weeks. Nobody knows what will happen with Beal, because he seems content in Washington for the time being although it is expected he will want a move elsewhere in due time.