Trades in the NBA happen. Every player understands this and they accept it. When Robert Covington was traded from the 76ers to the Timberwolves, as part of a package that netted the Sixers Jimmy Butler, he wasn’t distraught. He understood the business side of the league means this can happen. But it would be inaccurate, however, to say he wasn’t blindsided by the news, because how Covington found out he was traded was a cardinal sin.
Covington saw the news that he was about to be packaged for Butler when he saw a link with his name on it on social media. Yes, Covington found out he had been traded through social media. Not a team employee, a coach, or Sixers GM Elton Brand. He found out on his phone. To be clear he was eventually contacted, but the news was old to him at that point.
“I found out on social media,” he said. “It was like five minutes before the team meeting, then Brett [Brown, the Sixers’ coach] called me and EB [general manager Elton Brand] called me, but I already knew. By then it was already out there. That’s how I found out.”
Players expect trades to happen, but it’s an easier blow to take when the information is given to them by the people they trust. Namely, their coaches and the team itself. Finding out through a report on something like Twitter or Facebook has to be disheartening for the athlete. It tells them that the information was more important to give details to a reporter first than the player themselves.