As the NBA trade deadline was coming to a close Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles Clippers players were gathered on the team’s chartered plane, waiting to depart for Memphis for their game against the Grizzlies on Friday.
With each minute that extended past their scheduled departure time, the tensions began to grow as players who were rumored to be traded, refreshed the Twitter pages on their smart phone and checked text messages.
“The plane was a sweatbox today,” said Matt Barnes, who was prominent in trade talks with the New York Knicks for Iman Shumpert. “It’s just a business and it’s tough. We sat on that plane for almost two hours looking around in silence, looking at Twitter.
“No one was really talking. We were looking around and the captain said [the delay was caused by] bad weather and we’re like, ‘Yeah, bulls—, we’re waiting for that trade deadline.’ I’m just glad it’s over.
In fact, the plane began moving shortly before the noon PT deadline in Los Angeles but then had to stop.
“I saw that the trade was official and then saw that it wasn’t,” Barnes said. “And then saw that Antawn got traded and then saw that Byron got traded. We had to stop the plane to let them off.”
This must be what the hostages in Denzel Washington movies feel like. Every hour, on the hour, waiting to find out if you’re the one who’s about to get executed, about to be ripped away from a contending team and sent to a miserable tanking existence. Imagine what happens as Twitter rumors pick up and then either a Woj bomb or phone call seal a bench player’s fate. Do people weep audibly? Does a hush befall the entire cabin? Does Carrie Mathison climb a chain link fence surrounding the tarmac in a last ditch effort to prevent the trade? I don’t know. We’ll never know. But it all sounds so sad.