The trade deadline brings change for so many teams around the league, and while the difficulties of fitting new players into an established rotation is difficult, it eclipses and obscures the difficulties teams face on the marketing side of things. Commercials, highlight reels, posters, billboards, and a million other examples of team marketing are graced with the visage of the team and the league’s biggest stars. When those stars are on the move — as was Sacramento’s Kevin Martin — it often puts those on the business side of the front office in a difficult spot.
Now that Martin is no longer the most established star on the Kings and the face of the franchise (though Tyreke Evans was taking a run at both of those honors, anyway), his face has to be wiped from every advertisement, his presence erased from all the video clips. But here’s the real problem: the biggest prize the Kings scored in the Martin deal was the largely unknown and unheralded Carl Landry, who isn’t going to sell many tickets. Evans is already a star and a favorite, but he’s still a rookie and he can’t be on every piece of Kings-related media in the greater Sacramento area. So naturally, the Kings would plaster the face of Francisco Garcia, a swingman who has played just three games all season due to injury and actually sat out Sunday due to the infamous DNP-CD, where Kevin Martin’s used to be. Makes perfect sense.
In an age where getting under the luxury tax or amassing cap space can be just as valuable to a team as scoring a productive player, this is hardly a unique situation. But the difficulties facing NBA franchises (and franchises of any professional sport, really) as business are more or less undocumented. Other companies have planned specials, or meticulously thought-out campaigns that last an entire year or more before there’s any change. NBA teams have those, too. But from day one until the deadline, team marketing and advertising employees have to be ready to change everything on a whim. That kind of volatility is exactly what makes deadline time so fun and exciting, but if you’re one of those lucky (or unlucky) few working to market a team? Especially a team that’s buried in trade rumors? You’d have to be sweating bullets.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.