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Do NBA Fans and Media Have an Inherent Bias When it Comes to Trades and Free Agency?

July 24, 2018

   KD to Golden State. Lebron to Miami. Boogie Cousins to Golden State. 

   These are just a few of the most publicized free agency decisions in recent years, in which superstar players left their team for a better chance of winning. This act of "ring-chasing" has become known in the media and to the majority of NBA fans as shameful and borderline traitorous.

   IT to Cleveland. Blake Griffin to Detroit. Derrick Rose to New York.

   Contrary to players "ring-chasing", the teams who traded these loyal players are lauded for making a "business decision". 

   The most glaring example of trade vs. free agency bias in fans and media occurred less than a week ago, when the Toronto Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard, at the same time shipping off the man who made the Raptors relevant in a way nobody had since Vince Carter (no disrespect to Chris Bosh). DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors to the playoffs, to their first ever conference finals appearance, to record-setting regular season after record setting regular season. After showing loyalty to Toronto in a way no NBA player ever had before, he signed two long-term contract extensions after his rookie contract was up. His reward for such unprecedented loyalty? Being traded to San Antonio less than halfway through his deal. 

   Now, admittedly, after suffering the initial shock that came to all of us long-time Raptors fans after the already infamous trade, I began thinking logically. Kawhi is better than DeMar in more or less every way. We got Danny Green along with him. It was a good trade and a business decision that, at some point, had to be made.

   So yes. The fans and media have all had bias in how they look at free agency and trade decisions, as Shannon Sharpe pointed out on Undisputed. I, for one, am the first to admit my bias over the years. I criticized Lebron for chasing a ring in Miami, criticized Kevin Durant for joining the 73-9 Warriors in what is likely the most blatant act of ring-chasing. On the other hand, I liked Boston trading for Kyrie, liked (eventually) the Raptors trading for Kawhi. Now, however, I look at it differently. Teams making so-called "business decisions" should be applauded, with players "ring-chasing being applauded right along with them.

 

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