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Richard Jefferson wonders if Anthony Davis’ trade kicker is fair

Richard Jefferson

Former player turned analyst Richard Jefferson took to Twitter to broach a thought-provoking subject: “do you deserve millions more if you demand a trade and don’t fulfill the length of your contract?”

“Asking for a bunch of friends.” Ahem… Anthony Davis.

Translation: Does Davis deserve an extra $4.1 million on top of the $27.1 million he’s set to make in 2019-20?

The simple answer is no, but it gets much more complicated than that.

A trade kicker is put in place to give a superstar the assurance that a team won’t look to back out of a long-term deal, giving the player not only financial stability for the length of the contract but also a sense of reward if he is traded to a different team, which would escape his control.

In a way, the trade kicker overrides the now-arcane no-trade clause, which only a handful of people like Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James had in their contracts at some point.

Instead of creating a tenuous situation for a team to trade a player, the team trading for the star often takes on the burden of paying the trade kicker, which in this case is 15%.

The issue Jefferson has here is if Davis really deserves to get his hands on that money when it was him and his agent that asked for the trade.

The simple answer; again, is no. But nothing is ever that simple.

The Lakers could have asked Davis to waive those $4.1 million as part of the trade clause, but they could have risked ruffling some feathers with Davis and agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who also gets a percentage of that money for his representation.

Paul already indicated his client plans to test free agency, no matter what team he ended up getting traded to — a sign that they both want the whole bag and every cent that comes with it.

The NBA could make some changes to the trade kicker to make it fairer to teams in the future, like voiding it or making it a much smaller percentage if a player indeed asks for the trade. Yet these are the cards that the Lakers were dealt, and it would make for a poor free agent pitch to acknowledge they kept him from $4.1 million in his lone year with the team.