I got loyalty inside my DNA. There are some players who just stay with the same team for the duration of their career. There are a few players, like Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant who never changed teams in the league. They showed that they had full belief in their teams. It's not always easy to stick with your team. You do not always agree with the decisions of management or there are teammates you just don't get along with. Staying with your team is so much harder than leaving for so many reasons. Those players who are lifers should be revered so much more than the guys who just decided to pack up the ship and go to a team where they perceive life to be easier. They will be with the team for life.
Then there are the players who cannot commit to a team to save their lives. When things get too tough, or a better offer comes along, they bolt. Kevin Durant is the freshest example of that. There are others like Shaq and Charles Barkley who just ran from team to team. There are so many examples of people just leaving and finding whatever seemed like the best fit for them. There are more than enough examples of Hall-of-Famers who just picked up and headed to what they thought was going to be the most helpful in gaining fame. Here is a list of players who are going to leave and those who are more loyal than that.
20 Won’t Stay: Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is a back-to-back Finals MVP. He has shown Everything that he needs to on the Warriors. While he might re-sign for another short-term deal with them but I do not see him staying long term.
At some point, he is going to look for a new challenge (or a super team) and jump ship again.
Durant has already shown once that when the going gets tough, he packs up camp and heads to greener pastures. It's pretty easy to win on the team he is currently on and eventually, he'll set out to prove he doesn't need a super team around him to win.
19 Will Stay: Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is one loyal man. Last offseason he signed a max deal to stay in OKC and he rewarded the franchise by earning an MVP. He has also managed to average a triple-double in the last two seasons which is the first time it was done in the history by an MVP. Westbrook has made a real commitment to the Thunder, and when Durant left, he took that personally and showed that his career goal is to bring OKC a championship. Everyone can now see what kind of a special talent Russell Westbrook is and we should appreciate what he brings every night considering he almost never takes a night off.
18 Won’t Stay: Kawhi Leonard
Come on, does anybody really think Kawhi Leonard is in Toronto for the long haul?
There is no question where Kawhi will be in 2019, and there is no doubt that he is going to leave the Raptors the first chance he gets.
It's the worst kept secret that Kawhi is going back home to Los Angeles the first chance he gets.
Yes, Paul George surprised many by re-signing in OKC after what many considered to be a one-year stop, but it's highly doubtful Kawhi would elect to stay in Toronto rather than go back home to L.A.
17 Will Stay: Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard shows no signs of slowing down in Portland and also shows no signs of wanting to leave. There have been multiple reports that he and C.J. McCollum do not work together. But if Portland had to get rid of one of them, it'd be McCollum, because Lillard is just so much better at being the frontman and is the one who could lead a franchise. Lillard is coming off one of his better seasons in the league, despite suffering minor injuries throughout the season. He is still improving and should be considered an All-NBA player next season. His loyalty to the Trailblazers is unquestionable.
16 Won’t Stay: Jimmy Butler
Reports have surfaced that Jimmy Butler grew frustrated with the Timberwolves this past season, his first year with the team, as he felt the team grew complacent and showed a lack of desire to win. Well, Butler is set for free agency next year, and will have the chance to go to a team he feels is all-in for a championship. Butler experienced some frustrating seasons in Chicago and it's unlikely the Timberwolves can do much more than a second round exit in the near future. Butler will look to go where he has a legitimate chance to win a championship.
15 Will Stay: Steph Curry
The two-time MVP and the first ever unanimous MVP. It could be argued that he was robbed of two Finals MVPs, but those votes could have gone either way. Either way, he recently signed a big deal with the Warriors. They show no signs of shipping him out, nor has he given any thought to switching teams. They have such a strong core, that their homegrown players will be there for the long-term. Steph is the center of that.
It might currently be Durant’s team from the outside, but in that locker room, Steph is the leader.
That is why Curry has shown zero interest in packing up and going to say, Charlotte, which is where he grew up and his dad played most of his career.
14 Won’t Stay: Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal and John Wall cannot play together. There have been so many times when one or the other was injured and when one was out of the lineup, each played better on their own. The likely move for the Wizards is most likely going to be trading Beal at some point this season. They have little chance of landing a big free agent with all their money wrapped up in all the wrong places. The best thing they could possibly do is trade Beal and move forward with Wall and another star that gels better with him. Expect to see Bradley Beal in another uniform by the start of the 2019-20 season. Hopefully, they can get a good return in a trade for him.
13 Will Stay: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is the greatest catch-and-shoot player of all time. He once scored 70 points in a game while dribbling the ball just 9 times. Another time, he scored 41 points and held the ball for just 10 seconds. The numbers behind Klay could eventually make him among the top-5 greatest shooters ever. On top of that, he intends to be with the Warriors when he finally decides to hang it up. He is already a three-time champion and is looking to continue this impressive streak to another NBA Finals. He has a great loyalty to this team and is going to ride and die with them, no matter what.
12 Won’t Stay: Kemba Walker
Kemba has had just about enough with the Hornets. He has played there for his whole career and often gets overlooked because of the lack of success of the team. That is fully on the shoulders of management.
Dwight was probably the most help he had during his career, and they gave him up for a pitiful Timofey Mozgov and two second round picks.
That's clearly not enough to keep him around. Unless they make a splash and get another star to pair up with Walker, expect the team's only star to leave town as soon as his free agency turn hits. He is officially fed up with them and we can't blame him.
11 Will Stay: James Harden
James Harden is not going anywhere, ever. He has made Houston his home after Oklahoma City gave up on him because they did not want to pay the luxury tax. After that lack of loyalty from his former team, he has shown a great deal of loyalty to the Rockets and shows no signs of stopping now. He and Chris Paul made quite the run into the Conference Finals this season before being knocked out in seven games by the Golden State Warriors. They might have even gone all the way had CP3 not been injured. Harden will definitely be in Houston for the long haul.
10 Won’t Stay: Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving has already hinted at leaving the Boston Celtics when his time for free agency comes. On top of that, Boston was not even on his list of preferred targets for his trade destination last year. Now that could change after he gets to play a full season and even into the postseason with this very talented team. On top of playing with Gordon Hayward, he might change his attitude. If you are a Boston fan though, you should be heavily concerned that Kyrie is on his way out. It does not make financial sense for him to sign an extension, but rather look for a max deal next summer, while getting to pick his home.
9 Will Stay: Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps has been welcomed into the hearts of the people of New York. They have accepted him as one of their own and he is going to be staying there.
He did show signs of wanting to leave while the Zen Master, Phil Jackson, was still the general manager, but with the departure of Phil, so did his desire to leave.
Now the Knicks have a great coach in David Fizdale, as well as new management. Their future looks bright so they should do great things as soon as KP comes back from injury. He will be on the Knicks for a very long time and should only improve on his already impressive career.
8 Won’t Stay: LeBron James
That's just his way, right? The next time LeBron James reaches free agency, he'll be 37 years old and by that time, he'll be thinking about retirement (then again, he's a freak of nature, so maybe he won't be). After four years in Los Angeles, LeBron will have hopefully won a title for the Lakers and if he has, he may look for one final challenge elsewhere before calling it a career. Another return to Cleveland isn't out of the question. There's no reason to think LeBron will be loyal to the Lakers, because we've seen how LeBron simply goes where he wants.
7 Will Stay: Karl-Anthony Towns
KAT is not going to leave the Timberwolves. He has had some success there and was the pivotal reason they were able to end the 13-year playoff drought. They finally broke through by beating the Denver Nuggets on the last day of the season. Although they were outed in the first round, it's still a good milestone achievement for this team. With the caliber player he is, on top of management already showing that they are wanting to build around him, it is a no-brainer that Karl-Anthony Towns will be around for a very long run with the Timberwolves.
6 Won’t Stay: Kyle Lowry
The departure of DeMar DeRozan changes everything in Toronto. He and Kyle Lowry showed a lot of loyalty by signing extensions in Toronto, when everyone assumed they'd leave for greener pastures. How were they rewarded? Well, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri shipped DeRozan out of town in the Kawhi Leonard deal, even after promising DeRozan he wouldn't be moved. Once Kawhi Leonard inevitably leaves Toronto next offseason, Lowry will likely want out too. He and DeRozan were pretty close, so unless Kawhi Leonard comes in and helps lead the Raptors to a championship, Lowry's loyalty may go out the window, considering the team didn't show loyalty for DeRozan.
5 Will Stay: Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Greek Freak will be with the Bucks for the rest of his career. He has shown that he is an All-Star and an All-NBA level player while still having room for improvement. Last season he led his team in all five major categories. Those were points, rebounds, steals, assists, and blocks. That man carried that franchise. He is going to continue being their go-to guy.
They will build around him and pay him what he is worth and so much more.
Not to mention he is what any team would love to have leading their franchise moving forward because he is skilled and has the size to play at any position.
4 Won’t Stay: Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis has not received any real help in the years that he has spent with New Orleans. They did bring in DeMarcus Cousins but they basically play the same position and DeMarcus went down mid-way through 2017-18 with a ruptured achilles.
So the only real help Davis had was gone, although he still managed to lead the Pelicans to a first-round series win over Portland, before bowing out in five games to Golden State.
Cousins has now left town, and there's no sign the Pelicans will improve the near future.
Expect to see this monster of a man move on to the team of his choosing when his free agency comes around.
3 Will Stay: Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond is going to be a Piston for life. He shows no signs of leaving that team and should be around for a very long time. He has been a dominant player in his time in Detroit. Numerous times, he has led the team in both rebounds, points, and blocks. Not to mention this season where he led the league in rebounds.
He and Blake Griffin could be a dynamic duo moving forward.
With their new head coach in Dwane Casey, they are going to look to return to the playoffs and the Eastern Conference is wide open as well, so they very well could make a run to the Conference Finals.
2 Won’t Stay: John Wall
Just like Bradley Beal, John Wall will also move on from the black hole in Washington. He is one of the best guards in the East and is a serious threat on both sides of the court. He absolutely wrecks the league when he is on the court and is arguably the fastest player with only Westbrook being in contention. He is known for his ability to both pass and score at a very efficient level not to mention his ability to really get up and contest or block so many shots. You just do not get a talent like Wall very often on your team and the Wizards have wasted his talent.
1 Will Stay: Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is adored by the fans. He is fully involved in the 76ers organization and should be around for the long haul. He has avoided any serious injury this year and it would appear his injury woes are behind him.
"Trust the Process" is more than just a team slogan, it's his way of life at this point.
He and Ben Simmons should be considered the future and they are going to dominate the league for years to come. Do not forget that they also still have cap-space on that team and could be in contention to acquire a serious star either via trade, or next summer, that will help them improve and move on to the finals.
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