The other day there was a news story that told how Durant said he won't take a half-court "circus" shot at the end of a quarter if his team is ahead, because a miss would hurt his stats. If his stats suffer, his market value decreases. Modern players like Durant are forced to treat everything they do as a business decision, and when games become business (nothing more, nothing less), the players must treat themselves and everything they do as commodities.
It's a sad and corrupting system that destroys the idea of team-building, because players are just interchangeable parts in a machine whose sole purpose is to print money. When I see that our holy Blazers play more intensely against teams with better records (large market teams) and lose against teams with worse records (small market teams), I ask myself what could be motivating them to act that way. Are they playing harder in case they get traded, trying to ensure that they're more interesting to large market teams? If I were a player, I'd want to maximize my future earning potential in every game I play.
I posed this idea as a reply in a different thread, and a few folks, unsurprisingly, asked me if I was serious, maybe because the idea makes them uncomfortable. Would any of our local heroes actually be thinking more about their careers than our team's welfare and our worship of them? I think they would.
One solution, posed by my brilliant wife-to-be, might be to make it a rule that a player could not be sold or traded for a minimum of five years (ten would be even better). That way, whoever a player was "stuck" with on his or her team, via trade or draft day, it would be necessary to get along with them to build a winning TEAM. As long as the current system continues, there will be no real teams- just collections of modern slaves selling themselves to the highest bidders. Rah, rah, rah.