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WHAT Happens When a Player Leaves

This episode of the WHAT Podcast takes a look at what happens when a player leaves a team — specifically, what happens to the fans who are left behind?

NBA: New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

When Ed Davis left the Portland Trail Blazers this month to join the Brooklyn Nets, Tara wondered how other fanbases felt when a player departs? Whether a player is a role player, fringe player or superstar, whether they leave in a trade or in free agency, anytime a player is no longer on the roster it affects not just his teammates, but the fans he leaves behind.

On this episode of the WHAT Podcast, Tara talks with writers who cover the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers to discuss what happens when someone leaves.

This week’s guest are Sandy Mui (@sandysmui) who writes about the Brooklyn Nets for the Brooklyn Game, Caitlin Cooper (@C2_Cooper) who writes about the Indiana Pacers for Indy Cornrows, and Ashley Bastock (@ashleybastock42) who writes about the Cleveland Cavaliers for Fear The Sword.

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1:49 Intro, Sandy Mui, how she became a fan of basketball in 4th grade.

5:20 What happened when role player Sean Kilpatrick left? How did other fans react to the departure of a role player? Were they saddened by it?

8:48 Did it change how the team played at all? It was really about clearing the way for Joe Harris. He was the first guy the Sean Marks signed when he took office.

10:23 Why didn’t she talk about Brook Lopez? More recent departures are fresh on our minds

13:19 Intro, Caitlin Cooper from and how Paul George came to the Pacers.

15:28 There was a special bond with him after he broke his leg during the Team USA scrimmage.

17:41 As for his departure, the breadcrumbs were there, although he was also telling people he wanted to stay a Pacer.

20:10 George was connected to the community vis children’s charities and the Children’s Hospital.

21:21 George announced he was not intending to re-sign. This gave the Pacers time to take action. Gordon Hayward was in the same situation at the time, and he ended up walking away from the Jazz without them getting anything in return.

22:20 What was the reaction to the trade of Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis? Initially the reaction wasn’t great. Some people thought Oladipo was a nod to the fan base because he played at Indiana.

24:00 How did the team adjust to the loss of Paul George? They were no longer under the weight of worrying about what would happen. Victor Oladipo was so much more than fans anticipated. (Six games into the season Oladipo had hit a game winner.) Oladipo was a different kind of player than George. He was a natural at inspiring the team.

27:03 There are still people who are upset about Paul George’s departure.

29:09 Intro, Ashley Bastock, Fear the Sword.

30:06 The first time LeBron left the Cavaliers she remembers feeling physically ill — most of her childhood had revolved around watching LeBron play on the Cavs.

31:20 The way he left was more hurtful than the fact that he left. What were people thinking would happen? Those who were hopeful thought the draw of home would overcome his desire to leave. 2010 was a media circus — all the meetings for prospective teams were in Cleveland. The fact that The Decision was filmed in Connecticut tipped lot of people off that he wasn’t coming back.

34:17 In Portland we saw the burning jerseys, what was it really like? Fanbase was upset but only a few people burned jerseys.

36:30 What did the fans think about the letter from Dan Gilbert? A mixed bag, many people who were most angry that LeBron left were glad that Gilbert wrote it, but a lot of people were pretty shocked.

38:46 When did people start worrying about him leaving a second time? There was probably always worry. Even though he said he wanted to retire here multiple times, people just never seemed comfortable that he would stay.

40:58 How were things different as a member of the media? 180 degree turn. The first time, felt angry, it really stung, but once she became a member of the media, Ashley was much more aware that he would probably leave.

44:00 With coverage for a major story like this, there is so much info out there. Are there really surprises anymore? There are more prognosticators now and prior to LeBron’s latest announcement virtually every possible prediction was out there.

46:39 What are some of the things she will miss about covering LeBron? Watching greatness night-in and night-out. The beat will probably be a lot less stressful. He created his own stories, sometimes with a single sentence he would create three separate stories

50:25 What will the next season bring? The situation is very different from 2010-11. That year they lost 26 games in a row. This year, they are going to aim for the playoffs, Kevin Love will not be behind anyone anymore. Collin Sexton is also promising. WIll be interesting to see what Tyron Lue will do without Lebron. Last time LeBron left, getting good draft picks was the focus, this season they are planning to push for the playoffs. Whatever happens, there is still no one band-aid to fix losing LeBron James.

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Music used in the episode: “Happy Alley” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License