Will Peja, Baron and Shareef get their trades?

Updated: September 11, 2004, 9:10 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
The summer of 2004 will forever be remembered for a number of things. More than 100 players changed teams this offseason. In the process, NBA free agents garnered an unprecedented billion-plus dollars in contracts from owners who claim they have no money. Our U.S. Olympic team failed to get the gold for the first time since Team USA began using NBA players. Kobe Bryant's long legal saga finally came to end.

But for my money nothing will have a bigger impact on the 2004-05 season than the trade demands of two NBA superstars. When Tracy McGrady told the Magic in June that he would opt out of his contract at the end of the season if the Magic didn't trade him and when Shaquille O'Neal threatened after the Finals to bolt the Lakers at the end of the season if he wasn't moved … the wheels of change began turning.

This was the summer of the trade demand. NBA superstars fed up with losing, constant personnel changes, team chemistry problems or just looking for some more cash began screaming that they wouldn't take it anymore. NBA owners and GMs, frightened by the prospect of a growing P.R. disaster, capitulated.

Neither the Magic nor the Lakers got full value for their superstars. Teams rarely do when a superstar demands a trade.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer