Back in the summer of 2016, Kevin Durant severed all loyalty links he had with the Oklahoma City Thunder when he announced his intentions to sign with the Golden State Warriors in a Players' Tribune piece.
It was only back in the last NBA offseason as well that Kyrie Irving handed in his trade request with the Cleveland Cavaliers and was eventually traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for picks and players including Isaiah Thomas, who loved Boston deeply for what they had done for his career.
Loyalty in today's NBA is hard to find, as there's arguably only a handful of cases throughout the league that demonstrate true loyalty no matter what. Durant certainly believes there is no loyalty in the NBA today.
Speaking to Bleacher Report, the Warriors star said he thinks there is no such thing as loyalty in the business of basketball, as everyone will often find to do what is best of them, with no regard for anyone else's best interest.
The small forward said: "Ain't no such thing [as loyalty]. You see disloyalty in different ways, but that's one of the most underrated parts of the game. We scream loyalty, but we don't expect it from the people writing the checks because they're writing the checks.
"[People say] 'You should be fine with it because you're getting paid.' I liked it better when I was naive about the NBA business, how f--ked up it is. That was better for me that way. … You put money and business into something that's pure, it's going to f--k it up."
Durant is right that it goes both ways between player and team, with himself and Thomas being prime examples of each case. The small forward left in the hunt of achieving personal goals of winning championships, which he didn't think he could achieve with the Thunder. His loyalty is to himself in this case.
As for Thomas, he had no choice, as despite the loyalty to the Celtics, the team opted to go after Irving from the Cavaliers instead and use him as part of the deal. Boston's loyalty was to themselves, and not the player they already had that was arguably good enough, especially when you consider they finished in the number one seed in the Eastern Conference last season.
Then again, no franchise should sacrifice the interest of the team for one player, no matter what that said player has done for the team in the past, as it could put the whole future of the franchise in jeopardy. Therefore, Thomas' case should be considered more unfortunate, than disloyal.