When star forward Paul George requested a trade away from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Los Angeles Clippers last week, Thunder General Manager Sam Presti read the writing on the wall: It was time to scrap whatever remained of the team and build it up from scratch. That process took its final dramatic step Thursday, when Presti traded to the Houston Rockets 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, who had been with the Thunder throughout the franchise’s existence, for an aging Chris Paul and a handful of draft picks. The Thunder’s dismantling was born of a broader trend across the NBA, one in which the league’s star players have exercised more and more control in constructing their squads. They work with their front offices, free agents and even players already under contract elsewhere in their quest to play for teams with a shot at winning a coveted NBA championship. We should embrace players developing and exercising any autonomy they can manage during their time in the league. Requests like George’s, and the extraordinary measure of player agency they signify, have been greeted with a dose of scorn from the public and media, while ownership has been disconcerted by the shift in pow...