These Players Said “No Thanks” To The Team That Drafted Them
It’s draft day and the moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived. You’ve worked your whole life for this, and you couldn’t be more nervous and ecstatic. You’re well aware of the possible teams that might draft you, and you have your mind set on the places you would like to go. You don’t want the team with a horrible front office or depleted cast of decent players. When the commissioner calls your name, and it’s one of those dreaded places you feared; what do you do now? Here are the professional players that refused to play for the team that drafted them!
No Bolts For Eli
On NFL draft day 2004, Eli Manning was set to become the number one pick by way of the San Diego Chargers. Days before, Eli’s father and former quarterback, Archie Manning, stressed that his son would not sign with the Chargers if they selected him. They knew a star college quarterback could have their career ruined if picked by a lousy team.
The Chargers still chose him and Eli reluctantly shook hands while holding up the Chargers jersey. Later that day, the New York Giants pulled off a blockbuster trade, and Eli returned the favor with two Super Bowl rings.
Barry Heads To The Bucks
The Boston Celtics are one of the most decorated franchises throughout every major professional sport. Why someone would not want to get drafted by them is beyond our understanding, but such was the case for former sharp-shooter Jon Barry.
A Georgia Tech product, the Celtics chose Barry in the 1992 draft. Instead of playing for the team, he sat the first year and didn’t sign a contract. The Celtics had no other choice but to trade his rights to Milwaukee where Barry played his first three seasons.
Lindros Didn’t Like The “French Character”
Ahead of the 1991 NHL Draft, Eric Lindros clearly stated that he wouldn’t sign with the Quebec Nordiques if they drafted him first overall. Lindros indicated the team’s poor marketing potential, and the overall “French character” were the main reasons.
Still, they chose him and made it known they were going to keep him. A year went by, and Lindros finally received a trade thanks to a possible intervention from NHL President Gil Stein and an arbitrator that eventually decided that the Flyers had the rights to Lindros.
Gannon The Running Back??
Rich Gannon had a spectacular career filled with a ton of awards including the MVP, Pro Bowl selections, AFC Champion, and many more. He did this all as a quarterback. When the New England Patriots selected him the 4th round of the 1987 draft, they told Gannon they wanted him to be a wide receiver, running back, or defensive back.
That’s not anything a quarterback coming out of college wants to hear before his big day. Thankfully, he secured a trade with the Vikings in exchange for two picks. The rest is history.
White Can’t Take Flight
Royce White’s situation is almost tragic. The Houston Rockets and their fan base expected him to be a great addition to the team, but White struggled with a personal issue more than he played.
After getting drafted in 2012, White expressed concerns over the lack of mental health policies within the NBA after speaking out about his General Anxiety Disorder. The 16th overall pick was afraid of flying and as a result had to miss his rookie season. He’s currently playing in Canada trying to overcome these issues and make it back to the NBA.
Coming out of college, John Elway was just as good as he became in the pros. He was also a pitcher on the Stanford team with a 4.51 ERA. When the Colts chose him first overall in the 1983 draft, he refused to sign with the debacle of a team.
His father also advised against playing under their harsh head coach Frank Kush. Elway demanded a trade while his agent said Elway “would be a garbage collector before he’d play for Baltimore.” The quarterback used his potential baseball career as leverage, making the Colts trade him to the Denver Broncos.
Berard Didn’t Want To Be A Part Of Mediocrity
Heading into the 1995 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators were a three-year-old expansion team that placed last in every season they competed. That even included a ten-win season in 1993. These were all red flags for Bryan Berard, but the team still selected him first overall.
As a result, Berard didn’t report to their training camp. They eventually traded him to the New York Islanders for Wade Redden and Damian Rhodes. Berard went on to have a successful career, despite suffering a horrendous eye injury.
Murry Spurns A’s For The NFL
Former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was a two-sport athlete. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft selected by the Oakland A’s who signed him to a deal worth almost $5 million. The stipulation in the agreement was that Murray could play one more year of football for his college team, which he did.
After boosting his draft stock for the NFL in his final season for Oklahoma, he decided pigskins were the choice for him. Murray left $14 million in guaranteed cash on the table to leave the A’s in the dust and become the number one pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
Wilkens Didn’t Like Utah
One of the most ferocious dunkers of all-time, Dominique Wilkins averaged 21.6 points at the University of Georgia. That led him to get drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz in the 1982 draft. Wilkens immediately expressed his disinterest of the struggling team and didn’t want to sign his contract.
Thanks to cash flow issues, Wilkins got his wish, and they shipped him off to the Atlanta Hawks for $1 million, John Drew, and Freeman Williams. It ended up being one of the most lopsided trades ever.
Minnesota Almost Made A Huge Mistake
Heading into the 1992 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a high chance of winning the draft lottery. O’Neal, in a class of his own, was going to be the number one pick no matter what. The Timberwolves had just recorded the worst record in the NBA and Shaq wanted no part of that.
His agent sent a letter to the NBA saying that O’Neal was ready to sit out the season if Minnesota selected him. The good news is that the Timberwolves didn’t waste a pick, as the Orlando Magic ended up with the first choice.
Bruce Clark Played Defense, Not Offense
When the Green Bay Packers had the fourth pick of the 1980 draft, they needed a nose tackle. Instead, they selected defensive end, Bruce Clark.
The Packers bet that Clark would actually want to switch positions, but their plan failed. Clark refused to sign with them after making it clear he wouldn’t change jobs. Clark went to play in Canada for two years before coming back to the NFL with the Saints.
Kiki Wasn’t Having It
The Dallas Mavericks became a part of the NBA in 1980 as a new expansion team. Their reward was the 11th overall pick that year, and they selected Kiki Vandeweghe. The UCLA star didn’t want to play for the unproven team and staged a holdout.
That holdout would last for the first month of the season before the Mavericks decided to deal him to the Denver Nuggets. He played in the NBA for 13 seasons and every trip he made to play in Dallas was greeted with boos.
Standing For Something
Out of all the teams heading into the 1962 draft, the Washington Redskins was the only organization who hadn’t integrated racially. Owner George Preston Marshall was unashamed about his ethics and wanted to please his southern fan base. That’s when U.S. Interior Secretary Stewart Udall stepped in.
He threatened to revoke the team’s lease if they didn’t sign at least one person of color before the season. That’s when they selected Ernie Davis first overall, but he said, “I won’t play for that S.O.B.” Washington traded him to the Browns, but sadly, Davis passed away of leukemia before playing a single NFL game.
Francis Wanted Out
Steve Francis had a pretty great career, but it might not have happened that way if he stayed with the original team that drafted him. The Vancouver Grizzlies (now Memphis) selected him second in the 1999 draft, but Francis immediately begged to leave.
He said he was too far from his home in Maryland, and even used “God’s will” as a reason for wanting to leave. The Grizzlies tried hard to keep him but ended up working out a three-team, 11-player trade to send him over to the Houston Rockets. It was the largest trade in NBA history at the time.
The Man Who Did It All
While Bo Jackson was in college, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers flew Jackson out to meet with team management on owner Hugh Culverhouse’s private jet. He assured the future star that it wasn’t an NCAA violation as well. As it turns out, it was, and it cost Jackson his collegiate baseball career.
Jackson then vowed to never play for the Bucs even with them having the number one pick for the 1986 draft. They drafted him, and Jackson stuck with his word, choosing to play baseball instead. A year later, the Bucs gave up his rights, and the Raiders drafted Jackson.
Shaw’s Plans Foiled
Brian Shaw had a different route than most early on his NBA career. He didn’t exactly refuse to play for the Boston Celtics when they drafted him in 1988 as the 24th overall pick. Instead, he played a year but then took his talents to Italy to play for the Il Messaggero Roma.
He hoped to see what anyone else had to offer for him before heading back to America, but he ended up back on the Boston Celtics one year later. It looks like his plans didn’t pan out how he expected.
Home Free, Or At Least Jim Kelly Thought
Jim Kelly’s agent asked if there were any teams he wouldn’t like getting drafted when heading into the 1983 draft. He listed the Packers, Bills, and Vikings due to their cold climate. The Packers and Bills both passed on Kelly, but the Bills had another pick in the first, using it on Kelly!
The quarterback refused to play for them and signed with the United States Football League. Finally, after two seasons and the collapse of the USFL, Kelly signed with Buffalo and became one of the greatest players in team history.
Who Wants To Play For A Soured Team? Not Billy Owens
The Kings had recently relocated to Sacramento in the ’90s, and they weren’t such a great team. During the ’91 season, they notoriously went 1-40 on the road. The following year, they selected Billy Owens with the third overall pick, but Owens was not excited to play for a floundering franchise.
He decided to holdout at the start of the season and to make sure they got something in return, the Kings traded him to the Golden State Warriors for Mitch Redmond and Les Jepsen. The Kings won this trade as Redmond went on to have a much better career.
Not Enough To Entice Hyman
Zach Hyman was a Canadian phenom in 2010 when the Florida Panthers drafted him 123rd overall. The Panthers had just missed the playoffs for the ninth straight year, so Hyman decided to take his talents to the University of Michigan and win a slew of awards.
The Panthers made the playoffs while he played there and still owned the rights to Hyman, so they gave him an excellent contract offer. That didn’t entice Hyman enough as he opted to test free agency instead.
Le’Veon Bell Plays A New Game
Instead of directly demanding a trade, Le’Veon Bell did something different, that still gave him the results he wanted. Bell wanted a higher pay day from the Steelers, so he threatened to sit out if they didn’t meet his demands.
A deal didn’t get worked out in 2018 forcing the running back to miss the entire year, much to the dismay of fantasy football players. Ultimately, he ended up signing with the New York Jets after the season.
Dickerson Wanted A New Deal
Running back Eric Dickerson was on the path to becoming bigger than Walter Payton. If not more popular, than at least more talented. He recorded an NFL record 2,105 yards in only his second season with the Rams.
Sadly, the relationship between he and the franchised became strained. They refused to meet his contract demands, so that’s when they had to pull off a ten-player trade that sent Dickerson to the Indianapolis Colts. He wasn’t the same there.
Carter Wants Out Of Canada
Before there was Kawhi Leonard, Chris Bosh, or even DeMar DeRozen, Canada basketball had Vince Carter. The Toronto Raptors have Carter to thank for making them relevant in the early 2000’s. He was a high-flying, instant highlight reel every game.
It grew to a point where Carter wasn’t happy with the team’s lack of media exposure and their low chances of winning a title. That’s when he forced the Raptor’s hand to send him over to the New Jersey Nets.
They Needed Him
“You [expletive] need me!” – Jimmy Butler. Those were the words Butler yelled at the Timberwolves General Manager all after requesting a trade. The Butler-Minnesota saga has to be one of the wildest things to happen in the NBA in a while.
Butler was sick and tired of playing on a team with players that weren’t committed to winning. He forcefully demanded a trade to a contending team. While the trade was getting figured out, he took the third stringers during a practice scrimmage and beat the starters to prove a point. He finally landed on the 76ers not too long after that.
Leaving The King
Why would anyone want to request a trade to play with someone else when you already have LeBron James as a teammate? Ask Kyrie Irving. The one-time NBA champion wanted out of Cleveland after winning his first championship and it caught man by surprise.
It became an ego thing. Irving wanted to prove he could lead a team on his own, so he threatened to have surgery if the Cavs didn’t trade him. He landed on the Boston Celtics.
Faulk Doesn’t Get His Contract
If teams were smarter, they would compromise with players that ask for a better contract. Here’s an example to back that statement up. Marshall Faulk was a Rookie of the Year for the Colts. He didn’t do too well in his last few seasons for them, but still asked for more money.
When they declined, he ended getting traded to the Rams, where he would go on to win Offensive Player of the Year three times and MVP once.
It Was Time To Go
The Green Bay Packers had recently drafted Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favres time on the Packers began vanishing by the minute. Green Bay also grew tired of the annual “maybe I’ll retire” thing Favre kept doing.
Once his meeting with the team’s General Manager Ted Thompson ended, they both came to a mutual agreement that his time in the green and yellow had come to an end. Aaron Rodgers would take over and Favre went to the New York Jets.
Leonard Wants Out Of San Antonio
The newest NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard might not have been in this position had the Spurs listened to him. After sustaining an injury while playing with the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard wanted to ensure he was healthy before coming back. He elected to sit out nearly an entire season.
Players and staff didn’t believe his injury was that bad and Leonard didn’t appreciate that so he demanded a trade out of there. A few years later and he proved everyone wrong.
Carmelo Wanted To Go Home
Carmelo Anthony was once a superstar in the NBA when he played for the Denver Nuggets. They built the whole team around him and would eventually make it to the Western Conference Finals before getting thrashed by the Lakers.
Eventually, Anthony requested a trade to play for the New York Knicks. He wanted to be closer to where he grew up. The Nuggets pulled off a blockbuster trade that shook up the NBA just for Anthony.
Paul Outgrew The Hornets
It didn’t take long for Chris Paul to become a top-five point guard in the NBA. He started his career with the New Orleans Hornets and would lead them to numerous playoff appearances.
Soon, Paul grew tired of leading this team that didn’t bring him much help. Plus, it was a small market. That’s when he requested a trade out of there. He ended up on the Los Angeles Clippers and ended up having way more help.
Joe Montana Shocks Many
Joe Montana’s trade request surprised many because he did it while playing on the most successful team of his time and he was one of the best to ever do it. What’s even more appalling is that the team accepted it.
Joe Montana ended up getting passed by Steve Young on the depth chart due to Montana’s injury woes and that caused a rift in the locker room. That’s how Montana ended up with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jay Cutler’s Last Days in Denver
The Denver Broncos hired a new coach in Josh McDaniels and after that, things became very sour with their quarterback at the time, Jay Cutler. He was a top pick under their former head coach, but with this new guy McDaniels, he wasn’t too high on Cutler.
That’s when McDaniels lied by telling everyone they weren’t entertaining offers for Cutler, but they really were. Cutler demanded a trade and would go to the Chicago Bears.
Palmer Threatened To Never Step Foot In Their Stadium Again
Carson Palmer is responsible for any resurrection that the Cincinnati Bengals had in the early 2000’s. The team was a laughing stock for nearly all of the ’90s, so they had no choice but to respect any requests that Palmer had.
In 2010, the team only won four games and Palmer famously threatened to never step foot in Paul Brown stadium ever again. At first, the Bengals didn’t approve of his trade request, but they gave-in and shipped the boy to Oakland.
How Good Are The Steelers Without Brown?
Heading into the 2018 season, Antonio Brown posted a tweet asking how good the Pittsburgh Steelers would be without him. At that moment, everyone knew his time in the black and gold was coming to an end.
There was so much drama going on with the team and Brown, no one knew what was really going on. What does remain true is Brown and Big Ben had some sort of tension and that ultimately helped lead to the Steelers shipping Brown.
Webber Falls Out With Sacramento
Chris Webber is one of the most dominant big men to ever play the game of basketball. The power forward played his best years of basketball with the Sacramento Kings but could never get them over the hump int he Western Conference.
After a lot of altercations between Webber and teammate Peja Stojakovic happened, he asked for a trade. The Philadelphia 76ers is where he would end up and people thought him and Allen Iverson would be the next big thing.
Davis One Of The Latest Stars To Want Out
Anthony Davis is an all-world talent. There aren’t many better than him and you can argue that no one is better than the Kentucky product. He’s still young with so much more to add to his game, things could be scary for the NBA soon.
After spending several unfulfilling years with the New Orleans Pelicans, Davis requested a trade from the franchise that drafted him. “Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him the chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” his agent Rich Paul told Wojnarowski.
Jabbar Wanted To Grow His Brand
Is he the greatest center of all-time or does someone else hold that crown? That’s a debate that can go on forever, but we’re here to talk about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s infamous trade request from the team he won his first championship with.
The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Jabbar, and in his first six seasons he averaged over 30 points per game and made the all-star team. That wasn’t enough. He wanted to grow his brand and that’s how the big man wound up with the Lakers.
Neymar Needed To Prove Himself…
Neymar’s situation is very similar to Kyrie Irving’s. Both played alongside the best player in their respective profession, but they too were highly skilled. Neymar and Lionel Messi could have been a dangerous duo for many more years, but he wanted out.
That’s when he went to Paris-St. Germain to become the top dog. His tenure there was solid enough to show that he deserves the right to be the main man, but as of the summer of 2019, it looks like he’ll be going right back after only two years.
Another Big Man Wants Out
There was a point in time when Dwight Howard was a staple in the NBA. The huge center was thought to be the second coming of Shaquille O’Neal and even started his career on the same team Shaq did.
After leading his team to the NBA Finals in 2009 and losing badly to the Lakers, it only took him one more season to request a trade out of there. He eventually landed on the Lakers and the results in Los Angeles were no good. He blames his back.
Don’t Rush The Dream
Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon was special. There is no reason for him to fake an injury (the Spurs should have learned from this). As dominate as he was, Olajuwon still had trouble landing the contract he wanted with the Rockets, and they accused him of faking an injury.
In 1992, it looked like he was on his way out of H-Town when he requested a trade. They didn’t listen to his demands, kept him, and won back-to-back championships two years later.