Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 3/10/13
Every off season, NBA free agents (or all athletes playing professional sports) are faced with the ability to shop their services to the highest bidder. Eventually the decision boils down to one key question: either sign with the team that gives the best monetary offer or the one that gives the best chance to win a title. For every James Harden and Dwight Howard, that chooses to bolt because his current team is not willing to pay what he is asking for, there is a Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Scottie Pippen, players who are willing to leave money on the table in order to secure a greater chance of embracing that Larry O’Brien trophy. In the case of Bosh and James, fans are quick to remark about how today’s athletes are playing the game simply for a paycheck but turn around say that these guys sold their old teams down the river and took the easy way out.  They could have held their respective previous team hostage and demanded a lion’s share of the team’s cap space go towards their salary.  They were forth coming in stating their desire to test the open market and be standing on that podium at the end of the NBA Finals. Their desire of being champions won out and they went to a situation that would be more conducive to them achieving their goals, even if it meant taking less money than what they were entitled to as franchise players.  Ginobili and Parker made similar decisions to choose championships over the money.  But they chose to stay with their current team.  They knew that grass is not always on the other side of the fence. Some players feel that their current team’s system may be hindering their own progression of going from their current role to their rightful spot as the focal point of the offense.  They view that taking that next step will lead them to their rightful place and allow them to get the glory of being the savior who comes in to town and leads his team to that coveted title. Howard and Harden chose the other path by chasing the almighty dollar versus staying put in a situation where they could potentially lead them to a title.  Every person is entitled to do what they feel is in their best interest. Don’t get me wrong, ensuring that your family taken care of is something everyone should strive for.  But on a NBA player’s salary, how many millions of dollars is necessary to achieve that? Is a second house in the Bahamas worth more than being able to state that you were a key contributor to a team that hoisted a NBA Championship banner to the rafters?  Every person makes the decision that is in their own best interest, but as someone once told me, it is the choices people make of their own free will are the ones that reveal what they value the most.
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