The NBA offseason can become very personal for many fans around the world. As many teams get new players, other teams have to say goodbye to their favorite stars. Players become more than just a player of a team, but a representation of their city.
Billboards, posters, jerseys fill the city of these star players. Fans have so much pride and love for not only their team, but their star player. Once that player leaves, hearts break, tears fall and jerseys are burned. The relationship between the player and city are broken.
There are many things that go into a player leaving a team. Opportunities to be in a new city, more money and a better chance of winning. Many players throughout all of sports tend to leave their teams in current times due to all these other opportunities. When many fans think of a player playing for the team, many only look at the aspect of the game. Besides just the game, these teams that players play for are also the cities that their family lives in, their opportunity to grow as a business, and their legacy may be based off of this team. With the Golden State Warriors ruling the NBA, many teams now are currently leaving their team to play for other teams that provide these players a better chance to win.
These moves may benefit the players, but many fans go crazy when finding out their favorite player is jumping ship.
Here are The 15 NBA Player Departures That Made Fans Feel Betrayed:
15 Gilbert Arenas - Washington Wizards
Nine years went by where Gilbert Arenas played in Washington, before Arenas was trading to the Orlando Magic. After all the game winners concluded, Arenas was suspended in January of 2010 due to carrying an unlicensed pistol outside his home. From then, Arena dealt with trouble and was not worth keeping on the roster.
This was not one of the more serious betrayals, but fans felt betrayed that the team traded their star player. Arenas made a mistake, but he knew how to ball out and perform at a high level. The clutch-shooter unfortunately couldn’t stay out of trouble though, which lead to his career not lasting much longer after being traded to the Magic. Fans were both betrayed by Arenas, and the Wizards. Arenas was unable to remain their star player, and the Wizards were unable to keep their star player out of trouble.
14 Kevin Garnett - Minnesota Timberwolves
It seemed that Kevin Garnett spent a lifetime in Minnesota, until 2007. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded an arm and a leg, to send Garnett over to the Boston Celtics. The long-time center left his home in Minnesota to head to the east coast. The Timberwolves finally got their star player, and they lost him within a trade. Fans were extremely upset seeing the longtime fan favorite gone, but it was time for the end of an era. Garnett was unable to get the Timberwolves to the Finals, which lead to the Timberwolves trading Garnett away.
Garnett had nothing he could do in the trade, which sent him away from his home of 12 years. As one door shuts, another one opens. As Garnett was traded to Boston, it eventually helped him win his long-awaited NBA Finals ring.
13 Patrick Ewing - New York Knicks
In the summer of 2000, the New York Knicks traded Patrick Ewing over to the Seattle SuperSonics after Ewing asked for a trade. Ewing felt down that he was unable to win a championship in New York, so he wanted out of the Big Apple. The Knicks were skeptical about Ewing’s skills, being later in his career, so he was traded across the country.
Ewing will always be looked at as a Knick forever, but at the time, Knicks fans were distraught knowing their favorite player was gone to Seattle. Both parties seem to have regret the trade years later, but at the time, when players request trades many times the teams honor their request. The Knicks never went on to win a championship, and either did Ewing.
12 Vince Carter - Toronto Raptors
Many current fans don’t even remember the beginning of the Vince Carter era because of how many teams he has played for. Throughout Carter’s career, he has played for six teams. Carter was traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2004, while being on the injury reserve list. Carter was great for the Raptors, but saw his time there when he went to go join forces with Jason Kidd in New Jersey.
Fans have said that the Carter move to New Jersey was more than just a trade, but showed that the team didn’t care about anything besides making money, rather than building up a team. The Raptors were never able to make it to a NBA Finals. The Carter trade lead to a time of sadness for fans, as they reminisce the times with their star player.
11 Chris Paul - New Orleans Hornets
Chris Paul has emerged to become one of the best point guards in the NBA. Years ago, before Paul dealt with the departure of the Los Angeles Clippers, he dealt with leaving the team that drafted him, the New Orleans Hornets. Paul become one of the best players in the league for New Orleans, but with the fear of Paul leaving the Hornets in free agency, the Hornets traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA decided to deny the trade, saying it was controversial. The Hornets then traded Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Many fans around the NBA were happy that Paul finally left New Orleans, but fans in New Orleans were upset to see their premier point guard leave for Hollywood. The only good thing about the Hornets franchise was finally gone, and so were their playoff hopes.
10 Carmelo Anthony - Denver Nuggets
Carmelo Anthony had many opportunities to win a championship in Denver, including a time where Allen Iverson teamed up with him. Anthony never got it done, and the Nuggets were looking to start young. With the Nuggets looking to rebuild, Anthony wanted out. Carmelo Anthony ended up going to the Big Apple, where he was traded to the New York Knicks. Melo has become the face of New York, helping expand his business in the big city,
Fans in Denver were upset by the move, as the Nuggets have been unable to do anything special since Anthony has left. Denver hasn’t seen its share of stars, as Carmelo Anthony was one of the few dedicated star players to play in Colorado. Anthony left the cold city, to go on and help grow as a player and a businessman in the greatest city of them all.
9 Ray Allen - Boston Celtics
Ray Allen’s career may be known for his three-point shot that helped save the Miami Heat from being eliminated in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Allen’s shot helped keep the Heat alive, where they eventually defeated the San Antonio Spurs in those two games and claimed another championship.
Before this spectacular moment, Ray Allen spent five years with the Boston Celtics, where he was a part of the Big 3. The Big 3 consisted of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce. Many fans and teammates were extremely frustrated with Allen’s move. A happy birthday post was posted for Ray Allen on a Celtics’ fan Instagram account. Many furious Celtics fans said negative things about Allen because of his move to South Beach. Allen fired back saying for fans to “get over it” and that the Celtics tried to trade Allen before he signed with the Heat. The clutch shooter for the Celtics came to Boston as a hero, but left as an enemy.
8 Paul George - Indiana Pacers
In the era of the super teams the 2017 NBA offseason was filled with trades and star players moving cities. The inability for even the greatest player in the world, Lebron James, to beat the Golden State Warriors has forced many teams to either build young or put more star players around their team. One of the victims of losing a player to a super team was the Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warrior. A year after losing Durant, the Thunder traded for Paul George, who will team up with Russel Westbrook for the 2018 season.
George’s departure from the Pacers leave the Pacers hopeless for their future. In the trade, the Pacers only got Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. With the pressure to build super teams on some teams, the Pacers let go of their star to go compete in OKC for a championship with the former MVP.
7 Allen Iverson - Philadelphia 76ers
Losing one of the best scorers in NBA history would be heartbreaking for any NBA fan to get over. Allen Iverson was one of the best to put on a 76ers uniform, until 2006, when the Philadelphia 76ers sent Iverson over to the Denver Nuggets. Iverson was more than just a player, but a representation for Philadelphia. Iverson tried balancing out many things in the NBA including rapping, and coming to practice when he wanted to come. Iverson may have been the best player the 76ers organization has ever seen, which lead to the disappointing looks in the fans of faces when Iverson was traded to the Nuggets.
Iverson made 76ers games exciting for fans, even though the 76ers never really put any talent around Iverson. If the 76ers did a better job of helping Iverson, there would have been a great chance that he would have retired with a ring on his finger. But unfortunately they were unable to, which is why Sixers fans continue to try and “trust the process.”
6 Dwight Howard - Orlando Magic
When you think of Orlando, you think of Disney World and Universal Studios, not sports. But for a time, these Orlando sports fans had something to believe in when Center, Dwight Howard, was the star for the Orlando Magic. Howard was so good that he was even able to help a depleted Magic team in 2009 reach the NBA Finals. After frustration of not being able to win the division and concerns that Howard would leave the Magic, they traded Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012.
Fans of Orlando still hate the thought of Howard after he left the city to go to Hollywood. Howard promised fans a star, when the Magic got a new stadium which would have thought to be the home of the star. Instead, Howard wanted to leave to play with star players and a better chance at more endorsements. For a sports player, Los Angeles is a much better city than Orlando, and the opportunity to play with Kobe Bryant was perfect for Howard. If Howard would have been honest about wanting to leave Orlando, the fans may have been more accepting of his wishes. But due to his inability to stay truthful to the city that helped him grow, fans hate the thought of Dwight Howard.
5 Shaquille O'Neal - Los Angeles Lakers
When Shaquille O’Neal left Los Angeles, all hell broke loose for Lakers fans. Kobe and Shaq lead the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Finals in which they won, before he left in 2004. Shaq supposedly left for not being able to be the star player in L.A. as well as not being able to get the pay he wanted. O’Neal was then part of a trade that sent Shaq to Miami and brought Lamar Odom to the Lakers. Many say that if Shaq never left the Lakers, they would have won many more championships between Shaq and Kobe.
Because of Shaq’s departure, many fans still to this day boo Shaquille O’Neal when he walks into the Staples Center. Fans still won’t let Shaq live down his drive to go play as a star player for a franchise. O’Neal’s relationship with the Lakers lead to his departure.
4 Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat
Just a few years ago, the Miami Heat had the Big 3 in Miami with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Now, none of them are part of the team anymore. Wade was a legend in Miami, but decided to leave to go home to the Chicago Bulls.
Fans in Miami-Dade County were devastated with the news that their star shooting guard left his long-time team. Part of the reason as well as Wade’s desire to go back to his hometown, was Pat Riley not treating Wade well enough. After all that Wade did for Miami-Dade County, Riley did not offer Wade the contract he was looking for. Many fans that felt that Dwayne Wade did betray this team, went to go watch the Dwayne Wade highlight video at American Airlines Arena as well as go buy Wade jerseys when he signed with the Bulls.
3 Michael Jordan - Chicago Bulls
Who many consider the greatest basketball player to ever live, crushed many when he decided to leave the Chicago Bulls after Michael Jordan’s second retirement, instead of going back to the Chicago Bulls, he decided to play for the Washington Wizards. His desire to not return back to the Bulls, was claimed because of his desire to face different challenges.
Jordan was the face of the Bulls, and the face of the NBA. His decision to turn away from the Chicago Bulls crushed many. Bulls fans were heartbroken that Jordan decided not to go back and play for the team that he turned out to be one of the greatest basketball players to ever live on. Jordan was unable to really succeed with the Wizards, and later on ended his career.
2 Kevin Durant - Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant is one of the NBA’s current star players, and has played at the highest of levels. Before the 2016-17 season, Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors, leaving OKC stranded after losing to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The Durant signing will forever be one of the most controversial signings in NBA history. After blowing a 3-1 lead to the Warriors, Durant jumped ship to go play for the team that he couldn’t beat.
Fans burned his jersey, trashed him on social media, and made many memes of his decision to go to the Warriors. This move did not only bother OKC fans, but fans across this league. This signing is known for ruining the NBA and the competition. For a team that just finished with the best regular season record in NBA history, and adding a top-3 player in the league, it seems almost impossible for this team not to win a championship. Fans poured with outrage on social media with their frustration, as Durant went to Golden State to win his first championship.
1 LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
Many may say that the way LeBron James left Cleveland, may have been worse than the actual decision of leaving his hometown. In 2010, LeBron James announced on “The Decision” that he would be taking his talents to South Beach, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James made a whole TV show just to explain his departure from Cleveland, and then took part in a TV show where he told the media that he would win many championships with Miami.
Fans went crazy when they saw the news of LeBron leaving Cleveland. Videos spiraled around of fans burning his jersey and of nasty social media comments. Many Cleveland fans spoke very low of LeBron James due to departure. James ended up returning to Cleveland just a few years later, and Cleveland fans acted as if nothing happened.