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Do holdouts happen in the NBA? And do the players get paid if they don’t play?

It sounds like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving want out of Brooklyn, but not many teams sound interested. What happens if they have to stay and don’t play?

Durante las tres temporadas en las que estuvieron en Brooklyn, Kevin Durant y Kyrie Irving solo disputaron 44 partidos en
Maddie Meyer

There looks to be a standoff on the horizon between the Brooklyn Nets and possibly two of their top stars as the free agency moratorium comes to a close. There are a few options for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but most of them look like the Nets will come out on the losing end.

Will they stay, or will they go?

Irving signed his player option with intentions on staying in Brooklyn, but Kevin Durant sent shockwaves around the Barclays Center and the rest of the NBA when he asked the Nets for a trade right before the start of free agency.

It seems unlikely that the Irving will stay in Brooklyn if his friend and teammate, Durant, is traded away. While both may be seeking a trade, it is going to be difficult for the Nets to find a trade package that would be worthy of exchanging one of those players, let alone two.

A lot of teams around the league seem reluctant to trade away what would be needed to lure KD or Kyrie to their franchise. To make things even more difficult, both players have a list of teams they are willing to be traded to and don’t seem too keen on going anywhere else. If no trade is made Irving are more likely to find a road block ahead before they get to the exit.

Holdouts not as common on the hardcourt

While hold outs do happen in the NBA, they are no where near as prevalent as in the NFL. We see hold outs on a yearly basis in the NFL, especially during training camp, and preseason. Those hold outs can last all the way into the regular season. We saw a reigning MVP holdout last year when Aaron Rodgers refused to report to Green Bay’s mandatory minicamp. That stand off ended abruptly, but in other cases like Le’Veon Bell in 2017 that hold out can last for much longer. He sat out the entire year after failing to come to terms with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While these cases are common ground in the NFL, NBA franchises aren’t quite as used to dealing with holdouts the most recent case of a player refusing to play is Irving and Durant’s current teammate Ben Simmons. Simmons started last year in Philadelphia, but refused to play for the Sixers after they refused to trade him last offseason. He was fined $360,000 for each game he sat on top withholding a quarter of his $33 million dollar contract from him.

Simmons knows all about a hold out

Simmons filed a grievance against the 76ers in efforts to get the nearly $20 million dollars he wasn’t paid last season back, but the legal process is still on going. The last big hold out before that in the NBA was when Steve Francis refused to play in Canada after being drafted second overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the 1999 NBA Draft. The Grizzlies were forced to orchestrate the largest trade in NBA history at the time. After the 11 player trade, Francis would up in Houston.

It seems like there is only one clear cut way of avoiding both players holding out on the Nets this season. A trade must be made, however hard it may be for Brooklyn to get rid of both players for a suitable exchange. If they aren’t traded, either the two stars will have to team up and play in Brooklyn for another year or hold out for however long it takes to get what they desire.


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