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.