My mother, a recent addition to the Silver and Black Family, called me the other day. You know what she asked me when I picked up my phone?
“Have you seen that cool Derrick White bobblehead? I need one, he is my favorite player. You know, my birthday is coming up. Oh man, that would be so awesome if I could maybe somehow get one of those bobbleheads.”
Say no more mom, we got you. A few days later, the bobblehead was secured. A couple of days after that, my mother, the once casual hoops fan, informed me she is watching every San Antonio Spurs game and just loves number four. During the next game, I get a text from her saying “GO SPURS GO”.
Now if that doesn’t make your heart melt, I don’t know what will. Also, she loves number four. Let’s be very clear on that.
Well on my way to securing son of the year honors by way of said bobblehead, the Spurs then abruptly pulled the rug out from under me.
Not only did the Spurs lose White, but in doing so, effectively ruined my mother’s birthday and essentially crushed her dreams by trading away her favorite player. I will spare you the details of her reaction when she heard the news. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
Man, if an NBA trade can do family damage like this to fans, it makes you wonder how the actual player who was traded felt, right?
The Trade was sudden and unexpected
Imagine being in a hotel on the annual rodeo road trip. Each year the NBA trade deadline falls somewhere during the notorious away game slate. You are about to enjoy a nice postgame meal, and then out of nowhere, Coach Popovich swings by your room to relay the message that your services are no longer needed and that you have been traded.
Effective immediately, you are to gather your belongings and head east to a different time zone with three feet of snow on the ground, all the while remaining prepared to play basketball at the highest level in the world against the next opponent on deck for your new team. That next opponent is the Denver Nuggets, and your new team is the Boston Celtics.
Life comes at you fast folks, even in the NBA.
A true pro is expected to be able to switch teams, regardless of logistics, and produce. No learning curve is needed nor is time given to adapt to a new environment. This is a seemingly high expectation that only a handful of the world's most talented hoop stars achieve. If the past few games are any indication, Derrick White has undoubtedly shown us all one thing.
Derrick White is indeed a true pro.
Now rocking the famed kelly green jersey, White balled out against Denver. He stepped onto the parquet floor in Boston, Massachusetts and embraced the moment. He seized it against the same Denver team that has been in the middle of his career-defining opportunities in the past.
Some may remember a piece from Air Alamo referencing White's playoff performance against the Mile City ball club which put him on the map in an article that was written a few moons ago. That article questioned if the San Antonio Spurs had forgotten about White.
Maybe San Antonio didn’t forget him then, but they absolutely have now, and the result is an absolute win for the Celtic front office, players, coaches, and fans. And Boston knows it.
The Spurs made a mistake with this trade for two reasons.
1. Balanced Sustainable Production
Averaging a little under 13 points per game since joining Boston, White has shown that his consistent production night in and night out is unmatched, even in circumstances such as a trade. In his last game, he had nine points, six boards, and six assists in 36 minutes of play. That is a stat line of a leader, equally distributing the rock to the likes of superstar Jayson Tatum.
The one-time Spur always has and still does know his role, plays within himself, and makes the team better as a whole. If you run an NBA franchise, are you willing to bank on a 19-year-old rookie from a draft class that some say is less than stellar to provide these things? I am not. Evidently, the Silver and Black are.
Doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return is an asset that sometimes goes further than natural basketball talent. Doing this requires selflessness. Selflessness makes any team better. Take a gander -- the Spurs franchise needs to hold on to guys like this, and in this case, they straight up missed.
San Antonio is known for producing valuable players who go on to other clubs and prosper after being traded, that is one way to look at a questionable trade in hindsight. I see it as a list of missed opportunities.
Regardless of how you as a fan see it, we now must add The Great White Buffalo to the ex-Spur list and move forward with acceptance. At least we got the bobblehead.