The league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement has made it a little easier for teams to keep their own superstars, but it also reduced the maximum number of years for a player’s contract. Additionally, increasing tax penalties have prompted several teams with expensive payrolls to cut costs by trading or releasing veterans, reducing the likelihood that a given player will stay with the same team throughout his NBA career.
Taking into account the changes to roster-building dictated by the new CBA, it’s worth looking at which players have managed to stick with their current teams for the longest time. A handful of clubs, such as the Lakers with Kobe Bryant and the Spurs with Tim Duncan, have kept their respective stars under contract for well over a decade. But other teams, such as the Pelicans, haven’t carried any one player for more than the last three years, with their longest-tenured player (Jason Smith) having joined the team for the 2010/11 season.
Here’s a look at the longest-tenured player on each NBA team in chronological order, including details on how that player was initially acquired:
- Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant. Acquired via trade on July 11th, 1996.
- San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan. Drafted on June 25th, 1997.
- Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki. Drafted on June 24th, 1998.
- Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade. Drafted on June 26th, 2003.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Nick Collison. Drafted on June 26th, 2003.
- Chicago Bulls: Luol Deng. Drafted on June 24th, 2004.
- Orlando Magic: Jameer Nelson. Drafted on June 24th, 2004.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Anderson Varejao. Acquired via trade on July 23rd, 2004.
- Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger. Drafted on June 28th, 2005.
- Portland Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge. Drafted on June 28th, 2006.
- Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo. Drafted on June 28th, 2006.
- Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford. Drafted on June 28th, 2007.
- Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley. Drafted on June 28th, 2007.
- Philadelphia 76ers: Thaddeus Young. Drafted on June 28th, 2007.
- Detroit Pistons: Rodney Stuckey. Drafted on June 28th, 2007.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love. Drafted on June 26th, 2008.
- Brooklyn Nets: Brook Lopez. Drafted on June 26th, 2008.
- Sacramento Kings: Jason Thompson. Drafted on June 26th, 2008.
- Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan. Drafted on June 26th, 2008.
- Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry. Drafted on June 25th, 2009.
- Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan. Drafted on June 25th, 2009.
- Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson. Drafted on June 25th, 2009.
- Denver Nuggets: Ty Lawson. Drafted on June 25th, 2009.
- Phoenix Suns: Channing Frye. Signed on July 14th, 2009.
- Milwaukee Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova. Signed on July 23rd, 2009.
- Washington Wizards: John Wall. Drafted on June 24th, 2010.¹
- Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward. Drafted on June 24th, 2010.¹
- New York Knicks: Amar’e Stoudemire. Signed on July 8th, 2010.
- New Orleans Pelicans: Jason Smith. Acquired via trade on September 23rd, 2010.
- Houston Rockets: Chandler Parsons. Drafted on June 23rd, 2011.
¹ The Wizards and Jazz each landed multiple players on June 24th, 2010 that remain on their respective rosters. Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin (acquired via draft-night trade) join Wall for Washington, while Utah also added Jeremy Evans after drafting Hayward. Wall and Hayward were the first picks by each club, technically making them the longest-tenured players, if only by a matter of minutes.
Data from Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post