The NBA trade season provides excitement and speculation from fans and media alike, but what is it like to be the player behind the name involved in a trade rumor? Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype gathered the opinions of current and former NBA players, in an attempt to humanize the process surrounding the deadline circus.
With the Trail Blazers playing well below .500, more than a few of their players have been involved in trade discussions. Kennedy was able to gather a few quotes from former Portland forward Dorrell Wright, and his assessment may strike a chord with a few players inside the Blazers’ locker room.
“The mindset for most NBA players is, ‘Hey if you’re not one of the Top 2 guys, you can be traded,’” 11-year NBA veteran Dorell Wright said. “Anyone can be traded. Guys know who’s untouchable – the guys they’re building the team around. If you’re not one of the Top 2, you should understand, ‘Hey, I can be moved.’ And sometimes the writing is on the wall. If your team is underachieving, you should know, ‘They might blow this up.’”
Wright has had front row seats to a few roster shake-ups in his 11-year career, giving his opinion some serious weight. The Blazers are only a little more than halfway into a forgettable season, so ‘blowing up’ the roster would be a bit extreme at this point.
President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey made some hefty investments over the summer, but that doesn’t mean that Portland’s players are at ease with the Feb. 23 deadline approaching.
Maurice Harkless shared this with Kennedy:
“I think it can be a distraction if you let it be,” Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless said. “Guys know it’s possible and at any moment they could be next, but it comes with the territory, I guess. At the end of the day, we all understand the business side of it and we just focus on what we can control. At least, that’s the way I look at it.”
Harkless already has a firm understanding of the business side of things in the NBA. Two months after being drafted, he was dealt from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Orlando Magic in the infamous Dwight Howard-Andrew Bynum trade. When his role diminished in Orlando, rumors began to swirl, and the 23-year-old was eventually shipped to Portland.
Even if a trade doesn’t occur in the coming weeks, Portland will likely be linked to several rumors. It is important to remember that these rumors involve more than just assets, they involve professionals competing at the highest level.