The National Basketball Association is a business.
As much as it is both a job and teams are a brotherhood for players, and as much as it is both a sport and an exciting form of entertainment for fans; for all intents and purposes, the league is a multi-billion dollar business.
With league revenue reaching $5 billion, franchise valuations escalating and teams selling for anything from $550M to $2B, the proof is in the pudding.
NBA athletes often talk about the bonds of friendship that they build with teammates; not that they disregard the business of the league that affords them a great quality of life. On the contrary, they do—especially in free agency. Though, the aspect that fans see most often is contract negotiations and trades.
Occasionally, an athlete will openly discuss his feelings about the impact of losing teammates. Last summer, the Miami Heat opted to release forward Mike Miller via the amnesty provision serving as a prime example, as the move frustrated two-time NBA Finals MVP LeBron James.
Portland Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard expressed his own frustration in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
This comes just days after veteran guard Mo Williams, who spent last season in Portland, agreed to a one-year contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Seems like every person I have been close with in the NBA is never kept around. The business side is what I hate the most! — Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) July 30, 2014
One of the greatest feelings that comes with playing in sports is the camaraderie that is built between teammates. It’s sad to think that Lillard, who has only been in the league for two seasons, has experienced enough loss to feel that way.
With LaMarcus Aldridge due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015, hopefully the Portland point guard can either convince him to stay, or come to terms with the business of the NBA.
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