"It’s a business."
NBA players regurgitate that sentence over and over especially when the trade deadline is approaching.
Of course, players know that trades happen and must happen because… It’s a business.
But, sometimes it’s as if professional athletes chose to answer the media’s questions about trading away a teammate with -- ‘it’s a business’ to continue to convince themselves of that fact.
Yet, to some fans, they really forget it’s not just a business.
It's the ugly truth of the NBA.
People can't get enough of it, though. Fans flock to their trade machine generators to see how they can ship players out for more desirable ones. They post on social media talking about players as commodities rather than actual people.
On the latest Pull Up Podcast with Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum, he discussed the human element often overlooked in NBA trades.
Mostly, how families are impacted.
McCollum was getting treatment on his ankle in Oklahoma City when the news broke last Saturday that his teammates Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver were being traded to Sacramento for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan.
On the podcast, McCollum talked about how normally he would be taking a nap at that time before a game, but instead was watching Netflix while rehabbing his sprained ankle.
Bazemore was asleep when the news broke, however, while AT was on a conference call with one of his business ventures.
“It’s tough man, this is a tough business to be part of,” McCollum said.
It’s a sick business in the way it operates. The trade happens, physicals are cleared. They take the nametags down, the gear’s getting sent to the next city, and it’s all she wrote. It just gives you perspective. It’s definitely bittersweet, because you enjoy the company, you enjoy being around the guys and then you kind of fast-forward and you go to practice and they’re not there. -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum on the human element of NBA trades
In the 43 games that Bazemore played for the Trail Blazers, he showed his veteran experience on the floor. He awed Portland fans with his tenacity and his chase down blocks that he would always seem to do with such ease.
Bazemore also shared his thoughts on many occasions of how both McCollum and Damian Lillard were such great leaders.
Plus, he showed off his dance moves numerous times before the Blazers would run out on the court to warm-up before games.
But, he failed to develop offensive consistency and his expiring contract made him ripe for the trade block. Why? It's a business.
In Tolliver’s 33 games played in a Trail Blazers uniform, he exemplified what it means to be a true professional. Whether it was on the court or off the court Tolliver was a go to guy for wisdom.
He had been there, done that.
But, he also couldn't find his shot and his veteran's minimum deal made him an attractive candidate to be thrown into a larger deal to balance out rosters and money for trades. Why? It's a business.
And lost in all of this, is how it all goes down. There's little to no heads up. Teammates find out about the news on social media. Players are used to this by now, though. They're numb to it.
But, McCollum explains on the podcast what it’s like for the families once a player has been traded.
“You more so feel sorry for their families,” McCollum said. “When you play, you get caught up in the business, you get caught up in the day-to-day life. But, the families have to adjust most. Guys have kids, they have wives. And, the kids are in school. So, you have to figure out if you’re going to uproot your kids— do you take them out of school or do you let them stay for the year? And, if you let them stay for the year, you’re by yourself. There’s a lot that goes into that dynamic and a lot of people in the outside world don’t see it.”
But, just because an old teammate is moving on and beginning a new chapter that doesn’t mean a current player can’t shut the door on the new teammates.
McCollum preached just that.
You have to be respectful of the business and understanding that you can’t mourn the loss of teammates because now you have new teammates that have come in. You have to make them feel welcome. You can’t have any ill will towards them; it’s not their fault. It’s apart of the business. The business is what it is, and the organization has to do what’s best for themselves. So, you’re sad that you lost some teammates, but also looking forward to playing with new guys and getting them accustomed to how you do things. – CJ McCollum
Listen to the entire Pull Up Podcast RIGHT HERE.