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So you just got traded -- now what? NBA players share their stories

In the aftermath of a trade, reaction from around the league shifts to debating which team won the deal and which team lost it. Television analysts break down the deal's cap implications and on-court impact. What we don't talk about? The careers, and lives, that are often changed in an instant.

Below, players talk about the moments before a trade, how to deal with the fallout and the adjustments needed to join a new team midseason.

Editor's note: These responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What are the moments before getting traded like?

Jared Dudley, Brooklyn Nets: I would say this: 90 percent of the rumors on social media don't happen. It's the ones that are super quiet, that's when your agent says, "Here it is."

Ed Davis, Brooklyn Nets: So we got on the plane to Atlanta on a Monday, and I'm sitting by DeMar DeRozan, and I'm like, "Damn, there's so many different people [onboard]." All the scouts, GM, president, everybody's on the flight -- something's up. I didn't think I was getting traded. At Tuesday's shootaround, s--- started to get funny for me. I started to notice that the coaches who used to be on me, no one was saying nothing. It was a little weird. I still didn't pay any mind to it. After shootaround, we came back to the hotel. I woke up from a nap, and it was, like, 3 o'clock. My Twitter mentions and texts were going crazy. [Davis was dealt from Toronto to Memphis in January 2013.]

Doug McDermott, Indiana Pacers: I was in Toronto with the Knicks, went to shootaround, went to take my pregame nap. My agent told me the night before he doesn't think anything's going to happen. [The next day] he said, "I heard they are getting calls on you. Keep your phone on loud." And five minutes into my nap, [makes a ringing sound]. I knew it wasn't the alarm. [Knicks GM] Scott Perry just kind of told me the deal and the route they were going. I was a little blindsided by it because I was on the trip to Toronto. I didn't think anything was going to happen. Once you're there, you kind of feel like, "OK, shootaround, here we go." [McDermott, who has been traded three times, was dealt from New York to Dallas in February 2018.]


Where were you when you found out you were traded?

Enes Kanter, New York Knicks: I was actually doing a basketball camp in Oklahoma City for orphans, and then my manager's assistant brought me the phone. I was like, "I'm in the middle of the court. I'm in the middle of the basketball clinic. I cannot do it. I'll take it later." He said, "No, no, take it. It's important." OK, I took it. And my manager said, "Don't look too excited, but you just got traded to the Knicks." I'm like, "Oh, my God." And then at the end of the camp, we all came to the middle, and we were going to say, "1, 2, 3 Thunder!" And I said, "OK, Knicks on 3," and all the kids were booing and stuff. It was fun. [Kanter was dealt from Utah to Oklahoma City in February 2015 and from Oklahoma City to New York in September 2017.]

Davis: I'm just sitting there in the locker room, like, "I don't know what's going on." Eventually, Scott, the trainer who still trains in Toronto, he says, "Man, I can't sit here any longer. You got traded." I talked to [former Raptors coach] Dwane Casey. Luckily, my mom was in Atlanta at the time. So I sat with her, had dinner. It was tough for me because it was my first time getting traded.

Justin Anderson, Atlanta Hawks: I was doing my rehab ... I remember I was doing my massage, and then I was going to go to my shooting workout. I fell asleep, [and the masseuse] said, "Your phone was blowing up." She gives me the phone, and the first person I see is [trainer] Drew Hanlen FaceTiming me. So I answer, and I'm like, "Yo, what's good?" and he said, "How do you feel?" -- basically saying how do you feel about being traded to the Hawks. And I was like, "Man, I feel good. I just got a massage, I'm about to go to a workout." And he's like, "No, dummy, you just got traded." [Anderson was traded from Dallas to Philadelphia in February 2017 and from Philadelphia to Atlanta in July 2018.]

Dudley: I'm at the Clippers' practice facility. And no one tells me I'm traded. And you find out through social media, through Twitter, in the locker room. I wasn't even trying to check for it. I just see my timeline blow up. And it's just like, man, I'm right here. Why wouldn't anyone say anything? You grab your phone, and you see it. Boom. After that, I look at it, and I call my agent. "Yeah, Jared, it went through." Boom, boom, it happens. I showered, left the practice facility, and then the Clippers call me -- listen, you don't have to call me at that point. [Dudley, who has been traded four times, was dealt from the LA Clippers to Milwaukee in August 2014.]

Jason Smith, Milwaukee Bucks: [The Wizards] had a team meeting [in Cleveland] that night with the players association. I was just sitting there waiting for the meeting. I had a little downtime to kill, and my agent called me and said, "You might get thrown in this trade." I was like, "What? What is going on?" Literally 15 minutes later, it was official. The pouring of calls and text messages came in -- teammates, coaches, staff, family, friends, fans -- it was crazy. [Smith was traded from Philadelphia to New Orleans in September 2010 and from Washington to Milwaukee in December 2018.]


How much of a shock is moving to a new city midseason?

Davis: It was tough for me. I was emotional. I'm not an emotional person at all, but for me, it wasn't the basketball. All right, I can adjust, but I was in Toronto for two-and-a-half years. Still to this day, I never went back to the condo I was living in. Just seeing the doormen every day, the people that lived in the building, that was tougher for me than the basketball.

McDermott: You're in Toronto, and there's only Wi-Fi, and it's not really like you have your cell service. I felt like I was missing calls and stuff. So it was a nightmare and coming back to New York, landing, going to my apartment, packing as much stuff as I could. I just threw a bunch of stuff in bags, had one of my doormen come help me, and we went to LaGuardia the next morning at 6 a.m. I took three or four big bags, and I left the rest in New York, and I got the rest over the summer. I survived [laughs].

Anderson: I remember living out of a suitcase in a hotel in Penn's Landing [in Philadelphia] for about three months. I had clothes in Dallas that I couldn't really ship over because I didn't have a house yet. I did have to get my roommate in Dallas to ship me one of my suits: "Yo, I need you to overnight this suit. We have this gala."

Kanter: I remember that night. I came home, packed my stuff, and then [Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams] wanted to go to dinner. I'm like, "Man, should I go to dinner? Or should I pack?" I went to dinner.

Tyson Chandler, Los Angeles Lakers: I think people don't realize how difficult it is, especially with the families, moving in the middle of the season. I'm a routine guy. I really stick to my routine, and that's been the most difficult part. The on-the-court stuff kind of takes care of itself, but your machine don't run the right way if everything is not in order. And that's the difficult part. [Chandler has been traded five times, most recently from New York to Dallas in June 2014. He was bought out by Phoenix and signed by the Lakers earlier this season.]

Smith: [My family] finally got out to Milwaukee almost a month later on Jan. 20. It was a long time to be without my kids, and that was tough on me. But thank goodness for FaceTime.

Shabazz Napier, Brooklyn Nets: It's harder for my mother. You don't want [family members] to sacrifice all that they've done because of you, because you have to get up and move. So you just try to do what you can not to be in those situations. But even the best of the best get traded. [Napier was dealt from Miami to Orlando in July 2015 and from Orlando to Portland in July 2016.]


How much does the trade process reveal the business side of the NBA?

Davis: The GM, two weeks before, [former Raptors general manager] Bryan Colangelo, he tells me I'm not getting traded: "I'm part of the core. I'm part of the future." And then, boom. He probably talked to me for a good 20 minutes after the trade. [The conversation] was bulls---. I mean, it's like, if my wife asks for a divorce and says let's go to dinner and talk about things. It's like, there's nothing to talk about. I was so naive to the business. I didn't understand it. I was like, "Oh, I'm good. I'm not getting traded. These are just rumors."

Ryan Anderson, Phoenix Suns: At this point in my career, I'm well aware that I have to be ready for whatever and just be flexible. My wife knows that. But it's part of the game. I think it's more of a shock when you're young and you kind of think you're going to have this longevity with a team. Especially with how the game is now, guys are moving every year. There are shorter deals now. [Anderson has been traded three times, most recently from Houston to Phoenix in August 2018.]

Justin Anderson: You start to envision your life in that city. You start to say, this city is so cool: "Dallas is an unbelievable city. I can see myself living here, raising a family here" and this and that. And keep in mind, I'm only 21 years old at the time. Shortly after you [get traded], you realize -- whoa, reality check -- everything just changes. Now I'm going to Philadelphia, where I know very few people, and I have to almost start all the way over again.

Napier: Looking back on the trade from Miami, it should have never been a shock. I walked in to Miami, a great organization, and I was very naive of the business side. And I walked in, and I was telling my family I want to retire a Miami Heat. I'm a loyal guy, and I want to be fighting in the trenches with everybody. And I've been that way since I was younger. So when I got traded, I was in shock.

Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs: I still have some bad feelings about that trade to Sacramento, honestly. That one was really tough for me. [Gay was traded from Memphis to Toronto in January 2013 and from Toronto to Sacramento in December 2013.]


How does your mindset change after joining a new team?

Chandler: As an athlete, you want to be in the fight. It's no fun walking into a game knowing that you're going to lose, knowing that you don't have enough to compete against the Warriors, the Rockets, the Nuggets, you know, whomever else. So now all of a sudden, every night, either you're supposed to win or you for sure got a shot in the game. It's just a completely different feeling, and it gets your juices pumping again, and it reminds you of what you love about this game.

Davis: If you're not a starter or a bona fide star, it's tough. Because role players in this league are so interchangeable. In Memphis, they could have used me, but they didn't have a super need for me with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol there. I just got pretty much lost in the sauce.

Dudley: It depends on the situation. If you're going from a bad team to a good team, it's excitement. When I went from Charlotte to Phoenix and Phoenix to the Clippers, I was happy. Clippers, with Chris Paul, I was happy. Then you go from the Clippers to Milwaukee, I was pissed. I didn't want to go to Milwaukee. But in hindsight, that was the best thing for me. We made the playoffs. I ended up finding a role of mentoring young guys. So now I'm identified as that now in the NBA. So I can play for a championship team or the worst team in the NBA because I can help mentor. [Dudley was traded from Phoenix to the LA Clippers in July 2013.]

Gay: To go from playing for a contender [in Memphis] to playing with DeMar DeRozan in Toronto -- it was a young team. DeMar was young. Everybody knows how hard it can be to have a young team -- not young as in age but young as far as playing together. So that was the toughest thing going from Memphis to Toronto, being used to the same people, same teammates, playing in the same place. It takes time to learn all that.

Napier: It was great for me to go to Portland. At that point in time in my career, my confidence was very low. I didn't believe I even belonged in the NBA. It was just, like, where did my talents go? It's almost like "Space Jam." I put my hand on the ball, and my talents were taken away. [In Portland], it was more about playing against Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in practice every single day and learning from two of the elite guards, which I'm very thankful for. I got to go up against CJ and Dame and learn from those guys, be a sponge.

Kanter: [Westbrook] said, "Hey, it's New York media, so just don't go too crazy." Because he knows me.


ESPN's Malika Andrews, Dave McMenamin and Michael C. Wright contributed to this report.