The NBA decided to move the trade deadline to 10 days before the All-Star Game, stating:
The Board of Governors approved moving the trade deadline from the Thursday after the NBA All-Star Game to the Thursday 10 days before the All-Star Game. With the new placement of the trade deadline, teams will be able to settle their rosters before the All-Star break and avoid the disruptions that result from players joining new teams just as practices and games are beginning to resume following the All-Star break.
Yeah. That was the reason, even though that’s never been a problem before. What was never a problem before is an All-Star getting traded during the All-Star Game and then hearing about it for the first time in a postgame interview.
That’s what happened to DeMarcus Cousins last season.
Now, I get it. It’s understandably weird and the sort of situation you want to avoid, but it was helped by the fact they were playing in the city where “Boogie” was traded.
There’s a big problem with this move, though, and it undermines the whole point of the All-Star Game.
To illustrate why it’s an issue, imagine that Cousins wasn’t being traded to New Orleans, but by New Orleans. And imagine further that this trade happened 10 days earlier. And then all the fans in New Orleans get to show up and watch the player they voted into the game represent another team.
I get it. Trades happen. And in this one very unusual, very awkward, very isolated incident, there’s a perfect storm of what can go wrong with the deadline after the All-Star Game.
But henceforth and forever (or at least until the rules change back), stars who get traded at the break are going to represent a team whose fan base did not put them in, and the fan bases who did put them in won’t have the same sense of being able to claim “That’s my guy!” Rather, the All-Star Game will just be an exercise in torture for them.
That’s the All-Star Game, and you might not care, but it’s the whole point of the All-Star Game. So it kind of matters. But let’s look at the bigger picture.
One of the issues that fans are dealing with is teams deciding to tank. Teams aren’t only tanking more often now, they’re doing it more brazenly. And typically the date when teams decide whether they’re going to push for a playoff berth or more lottery balls is the trade deadline. That’s the point of no return.
Moving up the deadline date only moves up the “tank date,” too. Fans of teams won’t have the All-Star Game to look forward to and they won’t have the rest of the season to look forward to. Pretty much for at least a third of the league, the season will effectively end the beginning of February.
But hey! At least we won’t have that one isolated incident where a guy finds out he got traded after the All-Star Game anymore.
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