Little has changed in the NBA's world of no-trade clauses. Kobe Bryant remains the only player in the NBA with full no-trade language in his contract.
There are 21 more players this season who can block trades through three other provisions. Sixteen of those 21 players possess one-year contracts that require them to give consent before being included in any deal because they are also eligible for Early Bird or Full Larry Bird free-agent rights at the end of the contract. Bird rights are not transferrable to a new team in one-year deals.
Three more players signed two-year contracts that are treated in the same manner as the aforementioned one-year contracts because the deals include a player option for Year 2.
Including Bryant, then, there are 22 players in a league of 430-plus players who begin the season with a say in trades. They break down into three groups:
Group 1: Kobe, again, is the only player in the NBA universe with unlimited veto power on all trades, essentially because no-trade clauses in the NBA are almost impossible to get. Players can only secure a no-trade clause if they have eight seasons of service time as well as a minimum of four seasons of service time with the same team and also must be an unrestricted free agent with the right to negotiate a no-trade clause into a new contract as Bryant was in 2004.
Most NBA stars with the requisite stature or leverage to request a no-trade clause sign their first big-money deals well before their eighth pro season. They also frequently sign extensions to those big contracts as opposed to going onto the open market and then re-signing with their current team, like Bryant did in 2004.
Many of Bryant's contemporaries have thus never even been eligible for a no-trade clause, since the current collective bargaining agreement does not allow such clauses to be added to contract extensions. They're only permissible in new contracts.
Group 2: The majority fall into this category. They are mostly one-year Bird cases such as former Dallas forward Devean George, who refused to grant his consent to being traded in February 2008, which nearly scuttled Dallas' complicated trade for Jason Kidd.
A team must receive permission to trade a player on a one-year contract in three instances. They are: (1) when the player can become an Early Bird free agent at season's end, which occurs when the player finishes two consecutive years with the same team; (2) when the player, like the current Knicks duo of David Lee and Nate Robinson, can become a Full Bird free agent at season's end, which occurs when the player finishes three consecutive seasons with the same team; or (3) when the player, like Charlotte's Raymond Felton, has accepted a qualifying offer for the fifth season of a rookie-scale contract.
Phoenix's Grant Hill, Miami's Joel Anthony and the Los Angeles Lakers' Shannon Brown are included here as well even though they all signed two-year deals with a player option for Year 2, because each would still be eligible for Early Bird or Full Bird rights at season's end even if they decline the option.
Players who qualify for this season's no-trade list must forfeit their Bird rights if they give consent to be traded in these circumstances, which limits their earning power further next summer when they return to the open market. The list:
• Othello Hunter (Atlanta)
• Raymond Felton (Charlotte)
• Aaron Gray (Chicago)
• Lindsey Hunter (Chicago)
• James Singleton (Dallas)
• Anthony Carter (Denver)
• Johan Petro (Denver)
• C.J. Watson (Golden State)
• Steve Novak (Los Angeles Clippers)
• Brian Skinner (Los Angeles Clippers)
• Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers)
• Joel Anthony (Miami)
• Jamaal Magloire (Miami)
• Sean Marks (New Orleans)
• David Lee (New York)
• Nate Robinson (New York)
• Adonal Foyle (Orlando)
• Royal Ivey (Philadelphia)
• Grant Hill (Phoenix)
Group 3: There are two players this season who, as restricted free agents in the previous offseason, signed offer sheets with other teams that were matched.
Any team that matches an offer sheet to its own restricted free agent can't trade that player for one calendar year without the player's permission. The player also can't be traded to the team that signed him to the offer sheet for one calendar year.
Players With Matched Offer Sheets Orlando's Marcin Gortat
Signed with: Dallas
Veto Rights End: July 13, 2010
Utah's Paul Millsap
Signed with: Portland
Veto Rights End: July 17, 2010