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Why aren’t NBA players loyal?
September 6th, 2007

Why aren’t NBA players loyal to their teams, such as how the fans are, and such as how the fans think that they should be?

Ask Fred Jones.

Jonesy signed with Toronto for three years and $9.9 million in July 2006, as a part of the Raptors’ cap room spending that season. The third year of the contract was a player option year, for $3.5 million.

Upon being traded in February of this year to Portland in exchange for Juan Dixon, Jones agreed to forego his player option year as a part of the trade, a decision that, once made, cannot be recanted. Jones explained his acceptance to do this as such:

“From seeing the team, knowing some of the players and knowing the direction they’re headed, I was more than happy to be a part of it”.

Bless him. How sweet. Such gallantry and chivalry will serve him well in future life.

Apparently, though, they aren’t good traits in this here NBA game. For it was barely four months later that Portland traded him once again, this time to New York as a part of the multi-player Zach Randolph deal.

Still currently in New York, Jones is faced with the very real possibility of being waived by the Knicks, due to their present roster spots crunch and their desire to keep both Jared Jordan and Demetris Nichols. Jones was only included in the deal for his expiring contract, as was Dan Dickau – Dickau has already been waived, which doesn’t bode well for Jones. And if Jones does wind up getting waived, training camps have begun and most teams have full rosters. Barring a stroke of luck, the earliest return Fred would be looking at would be in early 2008.

The irony is that Jones’ contract would not have even been expiring, had he not declined the player option 16 months before he needed to make a decision.

Therefore. Fred’s loyal move towards the Blazers, giving up a year of multi-million salary and a year of almost-certain employment just to be able to join them, has now left him perilously close to a situation in which he could be out of the league altogether, only 16 months after signing a three-year deal.

Wouldn’t happen in the real world. And that’s why the players are loyal to themselves first and truly foremost. Fred turned down $3.5 million in an act of charity, yet now, if worst comes to the worst, he won’t even earn $100,000 in the D-League next season, should he get stuck there.

Poor guy, in both senses of the word.

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Posted by at 7:13 AM