The Pistons traded their longest-tenured player today when they dealt Will Bynum to the Celtics, just months after they watched the man who held the title before him, Rodney Stuckey, sign with the Pacers. Rapid-fire player movement is a way of life in the NBA, as the shorter contracts stipulated in the latest collective bargaining agreement have led to more players hitting free agency each year, and in turn, more teams with money to spend. That’s a recipe for changing addresses. Still, the CBA made it somewhat easier for teams to retain their superstars, and the financial advantages that incumbent teams have held for many years explain why 22 of the league’s 30 teams have at least one player who’s been with his club for more than five years.
The five players who have the longest tenures for their respective teams are unchanged from a year ago, when we last compiled this list, but the Bulls traded Luol Deng in January, knocking Chicago’s entry to No. 11. The team taking most significant tumble is the Magic, last year’s No. 7. They waived Jameer Nelson, who’s now with the Mavs, and only avoided the bottom spot on this list because they drafted Andrew Nicholson shortly before the Sixers acquired the rights to Arnett Moultrie on the same night.
Like we did last year, we’re counting the beginning of a draftee’s tenure with a team as the moment the club acquired his rights, not the moment he signed a contract. However, we’re limiting this to players currently on NBA rosters, which means we’re not taking “draft-and-stash” players into account. That caveat aside, here’s a look at each team’s longest-tenured player and how they acquired them:
- 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. Acquired via trade on June 24th, 1998.
- Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade. Drafted on June 26th, 2003.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Nick Collison. Drafted on June 26th, 2003.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Anderson Varejao. Acquired via trade on July 23rd, 2004.
- Portland Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge. Acquired via trade on June 28th, 2006.
- Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo. Acquired via trade on June 28th, 2006.
- Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford. Drafted on June 28th, 2007.
- Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley. Drafted on June 28th, 2007.
- Chicago Bulls: Joakim Noah. Drafted on June 28th, 2007.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Nikola Pekovic. 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.
- Indiana Pacers: Roy Hibbert. Acquired via trade on July 9th, 2008.
- Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry. Drafted on June 25th, 2009.
- Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan. Drafted on June 25th, 2009.
- Charlotte Hornets: Gerald Henderson. Drafted on June 25th, 2009.
- Denver Nuggets: Ty Lawson. Acquired via trade on June 25th, 2009.
- Detroit Pistons: Jonas Jerebko. Drafted on June 25th, 2009.
- Milwaukee Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova. Signed on July 23rd, 2009.
- Washington Wizards: John Wall. Drafted on June 24th, 2010.*
- Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward. Drafted on June 24th, 2010.*
- New York Knicks: Amar’e Stoudemire. Signed on July 8th, 2010.
- Phoenix Suns: Markieff Morris. Drafted on June 23rd, 2011.
- Houston Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas. Acquired via trade on June 24th, 2011.
- New Orleans Pelicans: Eric Gordon. Acquired via trade on December 14th, 2011.
- Orlando Magic: Andrew Nicholson. Drafted on June 28th, 2012.**
- Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie. Acquired via trade on June 28th, 2012.
* — The Wizards and Jazz each landed multiple players on June 24th, 2010 that remain on their respective rosters. Kevin Seraphin (acquired via draft-night trade) joins 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.
** — A similar scenario is at play for the Magic, who drafted Nicholson in the first round on the same night that they selected Kyle O’Quinn in Round 2.
Data from Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post