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Report: NBA considering fining J.R. Smith for requesting trade

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 21: JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after narrowly missing a half court shot during warms ups prior to the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena on October 21, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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J.R. Smith was asked whether he wants to be traded. He said yes.

It was hardly a major revelation. The Cavaliers keep jerking him around, mostly and lately out of the rotation. There are many players around the league who want to be traded. Pick up a box score and look for DNP-CDs, and you’ll be well on your way to identifying most them.

But here comes the NBA examining whether it should overreach…

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Sometimes, players want to be traded. That’s OK! Many people would like to work for different employers.

And if a desire to be traded is acceptable, what’s wrong with talking about it?

The NBA already has rules for players not fulfilling their contracts. If players show up and do what they’re supposed to do while also wanting to be traded, why should that be punished?

By fining Eric Bledsoe and considering fining Smith, the NBA is incentivizing players to lie to the public that generates all this revenue for the league.

It’s why Jimmy Butler won’t confirm he requested a trade and instead dancing around the topic and leaking information to reporters willing to grant anonymity. Yet, we all know Butler wants to leave the Timberwolves. The league isn’t investigating the source of those leaks. The league doesn’t care. It’d care only if Butler told the truth on the record.

Fines like this accomplish nothing other than punish players for harmless remarks and treat fans as unworthy of learning more information directly from the people involved.

Does the NBA have the right under the Collective Bargaining Agreement to fine Smith? Yeah, probably. But the league could also frequently fine players for tampering and never does. The NBA has chosen to ignore that rule for players.

Trade requests ought to be handled similarly.