GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By EMMA CHANG
With every new basketball season comes another series of player trades. When will the National Basketball Association (NBA) officials finally realize their players’ worth?
On Wednesday, Aug. 22, the Boston Celtics traded several players for Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving. According to Celtics president Danny Ainge, the team has identified its biggest threats on other teams and saw fit for a trade between the two teams, thus leading to the recruit of Irving for a chance to finally advance to the National Championships. Yet, the decision was made at the expense of Isaiah Thomas and several other players, whose loyalties and talents were ignored when they were traded away.
In the beginning, it seemed highly implausible for a player such as Thomas to be subject for trade, especially given his impressive statistics and accomplishments on the court.
For instance, during the past three years of being in the NBA, Thomas has played for the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and the Celtics, during which he accomplished great things for himself and his teams. Some of these achievements include leading the Celtics to victory during the 2015 Eastern Conference and being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for three consecutive seasons. Thomas’ numbers and accomplishments should have protected him from trade eligibility, but the reality proved differently.
In addition, Thomas has strengthened the Celtics by demonstrating continuous devotion to them.
For example, Thomas continued to play on the court in the preliminaries of the 2017 Eastern Conference Playoffs in May of this year, only days after his sister had died in a car accident.
Despite the obstacles Thomas faced, he was able to remain loyal to his team, making him stand out amongst his teammates, thus leaving the trade unwarranted.
Immediately after the Irving-Thomas trade was announced, the internet erupted in fans’ backlash at the loss of Thomas. For instance, many videos were uploaded in which angry fans burned Thomas’ and Irving’s jerseys, expressing their disapproval of the trade. It was clear that not many were in favor of the entire ordeal, but Thomas had no say as to which team he would prefer to play on.
On the other hand, there were several others who were in favor of the exchange. For example, Cavalier Lebron James and Chicago Bull Dwyane Wade posted their approval and surprise on Twitter, claiming it was an even trade. Although it is still unclear if the trade will be beneficial, it does not divert from the growing problem of decisions made by NBA officials without the input of players.
As a result, it is clear that team officials often overlook their players’ worths as soon as a “better” opportunity arises. In turn, many players are traded and benched, despite their talents. Isaiah Thomas’ trade is a prime example of the many hardships athletes face. Thus, athletes can only hope that they will not become victims to these type of injustices in their careers.