The Top 13 Longest-Tenured Active Players With One Team: It's All About Loyalty

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The Top 13 Longest-Tenured Active Players With One Team: It's All About Loyalty

This offseason wrecked this list of active players with one team. Patty Mills spent 10 consecutive seasons with the San Antonio Spurs before joining the Brooklyn Nets. Kyle Lowry, Nikola Vucevic, and James Harden spent nine seasons with the Raptors, Magic, and Rockets respectively. Even Cody Zeller spent eight straight seasons with the Hornets before leaving.

Finding players that stay in one spot is challenging in today’s NBA. You have players joining their friends to form super teams. You have salary cap issues, which forces players to sometimes follow the money. Not every player is as loyal as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, or Damian Lillard.

These players headline the top 13 longest-tenured active players with one team.

Note: Nikola Jokic was drafted by the Nuggets in 2014, but didn’t join the team until 2015; thus, making his total service time with the team six seasons.


Dwight Powell - 7 Seasons (Dallas Mavericks)

Powell-celtics-blog

In his rookie season, Powell was traded by the Celtics to the Mavericks along with Rajon Rondo for Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, and Brendan Wright. Since then, he has played for the team as a primary reserve off the bench. Powell’s best season came in 2018-2019, where he averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds.

After that season he signed a contract extension. In 2019-2020, he tore his Achilles tendon but fully recovered to play all of last season. Powell has started 108 of 424 games with the Mavericks.


Marcus Smart - 7 Seasons (Boston Celtics)

marcus smart boston celtics nba

Smart owns two appearances on the All-Defensive First Team, as well as winning the 2019 Hustle Award. He is known for outworking his opponents. He has played on three Celtics teams that have advanced to the Conference Finals but have yet to play in the NBA Finals.

On August 16, he signed a four-year extension that will ultimately keep him in town for a decade’s length by the time the contract runs out. Smart is just 27 years old, which means he has many prime years left. Who knows? Maybe, he will spend his 30s in Bean Town as well.


Kevin Love - 7 Seasons (Cleveland Cavaliers)

kevin-love-contract-lead

Has it been seven years since the Cavaliers traded for Kevin Love? When LeBron James left the Miami Heat to return home, he wasn’t going to win a championship without help. That is why the Cavaliers traded their No. 1 overall pick (Andrew Wiggins), a former No. 1 overall pick in Anthony Bennett, and other draft capital to secure the rights to the former All-Star and rebounding champion.

Love made an immediate impact. He was everything that Chris Bosh was to LeBron in Miami, but this time in Cleveland. He made All-Star appearances and helped the team make the NBA Finals four straight years. The Cavaliers tried to trade Love last year, but couldn’t find a partner. This streak may end this year if both sides come to terms with a buyout.


Joel Embiid - 7 Seasons (Philadelphia 76ers)

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Embiid has played in the NBA for just five seasons but has technically been around since 2014. The former No. 3 overall pick missed the first two years of his career with foot injuries. It might have taken a few years, but Embiid is the biggest basketball star in Philly since Allen Iverson. The four-time All-Star led the team to a No. 1 seed in the East last year and was the runner-up in the MVP voting.

Embiid isn’t looking to leave either after signing a four-year extension this offseason. Embiid has made three All-NBA teams, as well as three All-Defensive teams. Embiid wants to bring Philly a championship, so longevity comes with the process.


Rudy Gobert - 8 Seasons (Utah Jazz)

Rudy Gobert

Gobert joined the league at the same time as Zeller in 2013. The difference between the two is that Zeller was drafted No. 4 overall and never made an All-Star Game. Gobert was drafted No. 27 overall, made two All-Star appearances, four All-NBA Teams, as well as three Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

Gobert was originally drafted by the Nuggets, who traded his rights to the Jazz on draft night. They probably wish they could have that back as Gobert has developed into one of the best overall defensive players in the modern era. With that said, he is incredibly loyal to the Jazz franchise and looks to get the team back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1998.


Khris Middleton - 8 Seasons (Milwaukee Bucks)

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Middleton was originally drafted by the Detroit Pistons but joined the Bucks at the same time that the team drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo. Middleton has developed into one of the best small forwards in the league, making two All-Star appearances, as well as helping bring Milwaukee the 2021 championship.

During Giannis’ postgame speech, he talked about Middleton and how he “did it.” It’s something that the two have publicly said they talked about behind closed doors, about how they wanted to bring Milwaukee a championship. It took 50 years for the Bucks to enjoy this and now the team has a dynasty in the making.


Giannis Antetokounmpo - 8 Seasons (Milwaukee Bucks)

Giannis Antetokounmpo

In December, Giannis signed a supermax deal that will one day pay him $50 million in annual salary. All fans in Milwaukee will say this deal is worth every penny from bringing a title. Before he signed the supermax, there were concerns that Giannis was going to one day leave the team in free agency. It gave fans in the city flashbacks to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leaving and joining the Lakers.


There were rumors that Giannis was going to join the Warriors and form the super mega power team of the league. Instead, Giannis won a title his way. He stayed, used the players built around him, and won Finals MVP. He will live forever in sports history in Milwaukee.


Draymond Green - 9 Seasons (Golden State Warriors)

(via Heat Nation)

(via Heat Nation)

Green has been beloved by the fans in Oakland since being taken in the second round of the draft out of Michigan State. The 2017 Defensive Player of the Year is not afraid to say what is on his mind, do the dirty work, and help his team win.

Green is one of the founding three dynasty members that helped Golden State win three titles in five years. He has never talked about leaving the team. Instead, he has been more vocal about players joining their squad.


Damian Lillard - 9 Seasons (Portland Trail Blazers)

Damian Lillard

Lillard could be the most loyal player in the NBA. Lillard is one of the most clutch shooters we have ever seen. His range has no bounds. There is nothing that seems to bother him. He has made All-Star appearances, All-NBA First Teams, and been considered in MVP voting.

Portland basketball is relevant because Lillard wears the jersey. However, in nine seasons, he has one Conference Finals to show for, which ended in a sweep. He is dangerously coming close to becoming the next Chris Paul. Is his loyalty worth the price to end his careers like Charles Barkley and John Stockton?


Bradley Beal - 9 Seasons (Washington Wizards)

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Beal’s situation in Washington feels confusing. All of last year, rumors swirled around Beal’s trade destination. One day the Nuggets were in the lead. Another day, the Heat were going to make a trade, while the Warriors were even mentioned. Instead, Beal played basketball and nearly won the NBA scoring title. The Wizards made the play-in tournament as a No. 8 seed and then qualified for the first round of the playoffs.

Beal has one more year left on his deal, so this could be the last time we see him on this list. If the Wizards don’t compete right out the gate, we will likely see Beal get traded at the deadline. With that said, his longevity in Washington should be appreciated because even though he has endured some tough teams, he has never formally asked for a trade.


Klay Thompson - 10 Seasons (Golden State Warriors)

(via Golden State Of Mind)

(via Golden State Of Mind)

If we want to be technical, Thompson has only played in the NBA for eight seasons despite staying with the Warriors for a total of 10 years. Thompson missed all of the 2019-2020 season as he rehabbed from a torn ACL. Then, he missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon, which he suffered from a pickup basketball game in Los Angeles.

When healthy, he is a five-time All-Star, three-time champion, one of the best overall outside shooters, and a former All-Defensive player. There are no “Splash Bros” without Thompson being in the middle. Assuming he is healthy this year, the Warriors dynasty could finally be back.


Steph Curry - 12 Seasons (Golden State Warriors)

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The scrawny kid that could shoot from Davidson has turned into quite a basketball player. Curry will be the highest-paid player in the history of the league in a few years. That comes at the heels of winning the scoring title last season. Curry has shown no signs of slowing down. With five years left on his contract, he will own 17 seasons with the Warriors if he stays. Can he get to 20?

There are only a few players in the league such as Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant who have accomplished that feat. Curry could be the next player to join that club if he plays until he is 40 years old. After winning a scoring title at 33, anything is possible.


Udonis Haslem - 18 Seasons (Miami Heat)

Udonis Haslem

Haslem has played a combined 45 games the last five seasons. The last time he has played any regular minutes was in 2014-2015 when he appeared in 62 games. With that said, Haslem’s role with the team is not to play anymore. He has done enough of that already. He owns three championship rings, played in five NBA Finals, and is the Heat’s all-time leading rebounder.

His role is to act as a coach and help with head coach Erik Spoelstra. At 41 years old, Haslem could coach if he wants, but he has remained in a player’s role. His leadership is so essential to the team that the Heat continually resign him. He needs just two more seasons to get to 20 seasons with one team. Will he make it?

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