There are many superstars who join and remain with a team for their entire career. It doesn’t happen very often as salaries and moves by the teams to bring new talent usually lead to superstars being traded or signing with another team in free agency. We have seen some superstars such as Kobe Bryant retire with their teams after a long and successful career. But not every superstar retires with the team that drafted or traded for them early in their careers. Here are seven superstars who we never thought would move to another team:
Paul Pierce was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1998 and in 2008, he helped his team win the NBA Finals. Five years later, the Brooklyn Nets made a big trade, announcing they had acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and D.J. White. The trade sent a number of players to the Boston Celtics and three first round picks. Since the trade, Paul Pierce has played for a few other teams. Last month, the Clippers forward returned to Boston to play against the Celtics. In September 2016, he announced his retirement after the 2016-17 NBA season.
Dwyane Wade was drafted in the first round by the Miami Heat back in 2003 and he remained with the team for 13 years. After winning three NBA Championships in five NBA Finals appearances, Wade signed with the Chicago Bulls. The Miami Heat re-signed Wade to a one year deal in 2015 and it seemed like he would sign a new deal the following year. But in 2016, he made one of the most shocking moves of the year by signing with the Chicago Bulls. The Miami Heat now have other superstars but it is still a little strange to see Dwyane Wade in a Chicago Bulls uniform after many NBA seasons with the Miami Heat.
Iker Casillas began his youth career at Real Madrid in 1990 and played in 725 official matches with the team. 25 years is a long time and many fans didn’t see him leaving the club. But that changed in 2015, when he completed a transfer to Porto. He was benched for the first time in ten years in 2012 and in the following season, he was benched again. Iker Casillas had big saves for Spain during the 2010 World Cup and helped his team win the tournament. It seemed like he would retire with Real Madrid but everything changed in the last two seasons with the team.
Peyton Manning was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 and it seemed impossible that he would ever move to another team after setting so many records and making the playoffs for many seasons. The quarterback also led the team to two Super Bowls, winning one of them. But after missing the entire 2011 season, the Colts released Manning. It didn’t take long for the quarterback to find a new team as days after his release, he agreed to join the Denver Broncos on a five year contract. After his fourth season and a Super Bowl victory with the Denver Broncos, Manning informed the team that he would retire. Manning is now the only quarterback in league history to lead two franchises to Super Bowl titles.
Kevin Durant was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007 and the team later moved to Oklahoma City, where it was renamed to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2012, Durant helped his team reach the NBA Finals and last year, the team was one win away from reaching the NBA Finals again. Kevin Durant was a free agent after the season and even though many teams were interested in signing him, a lot of fans didn’t think he would leave. That changed when it was announced that the Golden State Warriors had signed the superstar. The Oklahoma City Thunder roster once had Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who are some of the best players in the NBA. The Thunder now only have Westbrook, who is having a great season with 30 triple-doubles.
Xavi won a record 25 titles with Barcelona before announcing that he would leave the team in 2015. The star midfielder joined Barcelona’s youth academy at age 11 and in May 2015, he announced that he had been offered a new contract at the team but admitted it was time to leave. He joined Qatari club Al Sadd for two seasons shortly after.
It seemed like Steven Gerrard would retire with Liverpool but the midfielder decided to join LA Galaxy after 17 seasons with the team. He joined LA Galaxy on an 18 month deal, which expired on December 2016. Liverpool confirmed in January that Gerrard would return to the club in February as a full-time academy coach.