Posted by: Shauna Brock on March 15th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Like most Jazz fans, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about trades. About why we do or don’t trade, about veteran players, about the kids who deserve more time and old cranks who need to retire (no, Raja, I’m not really talking about you. Honest.) For once the Jazz depth is nuts, but because of that there aren’t enough minutes to go around. Feelings are getting hurt. Tantrums happen. And how many ways can you try to convince the fans of a future all star that his being moved back to the bench isn’t a demotion.
But what amazes me is that in this mess, while the world has been poised on the edge of the Dwight Howard cliff, not a single Jazz player demanded a trade. It could be argued that the Jazz don’t have a superstar worthy of demanding a trade but let’s be honest, one doesn’t need to be a superstar to have an ego. Raja came the closest probably, but if he did demand anything it’s been kept under wraps.
And that’s where my mind is right now. I don’t know how I feel about players having the power to demand trades. I think about the Dwight Howards and the Carmelo Anthonys and the Chris Pauls. The media falls all over them and in the 24 hour twitter world, the whispered trade becomes the tweet heard round the world. As a result, the secondary stars, the Andrew Boguts of the world can also make waves all the while coming across as classy guys who just want to change their situation. But what does that really do to a fanbase?
Maybe I’m just an old school fan. I’m not so much a fan of players as I am teams. I have my favorite players on a team, sure (Paul Millsap …. Earl Watson ….) but once they leave, I don’t follow them to their new team. I don’t care how awesome Deron is, I don’t care what he’s up to in New Jersey. Same with Kyle, Boozer, and even Ronnie-B. So when a star player demands to be traded, I roll my eyes and say good riddance. Clearly, if they don’t care about the community of their team, they aren’t worthy of the community of the team. But then I remember what it was like with Karl and his regularly scheduled outbursts. If twitter and facebook had existed in the 90’s, Karl would be reviled much more than he would be heralded and loved. He would have been forced out because of fan pressure rather than chuckled at while we knew he’d be back once the tantrum was over.
On the flip side, player movement is important. Every lockout in the history of lockouts has gone back to player movement and freedom. (Thank you Ken Burns for history lessons given in your baseball documentary.) Players deserve to choose their destiny. They deserve to look around and say “this isn’t working for me, let’s fix it.” And when that right is taken away, all lovers of the game suffer.
The problem for me is when it’s done in a public fashion that hurts everyone. When players make themselves look like spoiled babies and when agents get involved in the mess and when fans get their feelings hurt and blow things out of proportion, no one wins. And as a result we get the Dwight Howard situation, which still reeks of oil and slime.
So there isn’t an answer, or is there? Do we demand that players don’t mouth off? What if mouthing off is the only way to get their management’s attention? But whatever the fallout, this trade deadline left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Nothing came down right or well…
… Especially in Portland. (What the HECK is up there?)
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