It’s not uncommon for NBA players to find out they’ve been traded under somewhat unusual circumstances; we’ve heard of players waking up from naps to discover they’ve been dealt, or even finding out from a teammate once a flight had landed.
But the Clippers created an extremely uncomfortable situation for their players on Thursday that seemed to be unnecessary.
The team plane was loaded up for a trip to Memphis, but it sat on the ground as conversations apparently went on right up until the deadline about potential deals involving one or more of the team’s players. Matt Barnes was a name that surfaced late as a potential piece in a trade for Iman Shumpert, and he explained in detail what it was like to be stuck on the plane sweating it out.
With each minute that extended past their scheduled departure time, the tensions began to grow as players who were rumored to be traded, refreshed the Twitter pages on their smart phone and checked text messages.
“The plane was a sweatbox today,” said Matt Barnes, who was prominent in trade talks with the New York Knicks for Iman Shumpert. “It’s just a business and it’s tough. We sat on that plane for almost two hours looking around in silence, looking at Twitter.
“No one was really talking. We were looking around and the captain said [the delay was caused by] bad weather and we’re like, ‘Yeah, bulls—, we’re waiting for that trade deadline.’ I’m just glad it’s over.”
The plane actually did begin to move right before the deadline, but once deals were agreed upon involving Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens, it was stopped so those players could get off.
The Clippers don’t have the best reputation as an organization, but things are changing. They now have a good team filled with excellent players, and Doc Rivers is well-respected in his profession. But it just seems like this whole thing could have been handled differently in order to make the situation far less stressful.