NBA PM: 2017 NBA Trade Deadline Primer For Fans

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The 2016-17 season trade deadline is set for February 23 at 3:00 p.m. E.T. So over the next month, expect to hear plenty of rumors and read a plethora of news reports as teams seek leverage in negotiations.

Before we get into which teams may be players in this year’s bonanza, it’s important to understand the following aspects of the annual trade deadline frenzy:

  • Front office executives will field calls on the majority of players on their current roster. Such is the life of an NBA GM. But remember, the mere action of fielding a call doesn’t signal intent to trade away an asset. It is all part of the due diligence process. Executives are paid to constantly review, analyze, assess, re-assess and evaluate all angles for their respective franchise. These guys aren’t only seeking present day returns, but also have their heads on a swivel for any potential long-term assets as well. So remember, hearing that an executive took the time to listen to an offer from a rival GM does not necessarily equate to that general manager wanting to deal away any of his assets. The NBA is a very tight circle and most general managers are friendly
  • Another important note: the annual trade deadline is one of the most vocal times of year for agents when dealing with the media. After covering the league for years it has become easier and, at times, painfully obvious when an agent is the driving force behind a particular narrative. Remember, most agents make two-to-four percent commission off of a player’s base salary. Some agents also get an additional revenue stream from outside endorsements and off-court business ventures they’re able to procure for their clients. Now, this isn’t to say that agents are sinister. They aren’t. Agents are simply looking out for, what they feel, is in the best interest of their clients. If a player is in a contract year, glued to the bench and hasn’t been playing well but all of a sudden you hear about seven teams around the league showing huge interest – the source of the report is likely the agent. The agent will try to get their client in a better situation and/or attempt to drive up the market value. Agents are a valuable source of information, but it’s always important to understand they have their motivations.
  • Be on the lookout for fake news sites, Twitter imposters and bogus reports. In what is seemingly becoming an annual tradition, there is a segment of people on social media that love to add extra drama into the trade deadline by creating fake social media profiles and sharing unsubstantiated reports. Don’t fall victim to this. Be extremely careful of what news you share, repost and retweet on social media. Writers and fans alike have fallen victim in the past and the imposters’ presence will likely be even larger this year. If you’re on Twitter, look for the blue verified check mark. Visit the profile page and check the number of followers and number of tweets. Typically these fake accounts will have very few followers and not that many past tweets.
  • Let history be your guide. Some league executives are always in on the trade market. Some are conservative and prefer to do their wheeling and dealing during the offseason. For instance, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is typically a very active participant in the trade deadline festivities. The Rockets own one of the best records in the league this season, so don’t expect Houston to stir things up too much. However, look at Morey’s history as an executive and you’ll easily see he’s always hunting for a deal to make his club better.
  • This isn’t a statistically validated number, but probably 80-90 percent of the potential trade rumors, involving specific players, you actually see appear on your favorite sporting outlets are rooted in discussions that barely got off the ground. As discussed in the first section, NBA front offices take plenty of calls. To complicate matters, the general manager isn’t the only team official in a franchise making calls. Some franchises allow their assistant general managers to engage in preliminary discussions with other teams or use them to prove or disprove the availability of a particular player or pick. To put it simply, discussions are always happening. Executives are always looking to work the market.


Check back next week for some additional things to watch out for as we approach this year’s trade deadline.