Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five lists five weird trades that have gone down in my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER.
One of the things I love about franchise modes in basketball games is the ability to control everything. You get to assume control of every player on the team, call the shots as the coach, and make roster moves as the GM. At the same time, I’ve also enjoyed not having as much control in the career experiences. I’ve come to like the challenge of only focusing on what I can control – developing my player and playing the role that’s required of me – and trusting the AI to take care of the rest. Obviously, that includes making the right moves to build a winning roster.
I would make a joke here about how that’s unlikely since I’m playing for the Chicago Bulls, but I need to save my shots at GarPax for later in the article. Besides, it seems that quite a few of the virtual GMs in my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER have seen fit to pull the trigger on some eyebrow-raising trades. Being a seasoned franchise gamer, I’m no stranger to the CPU making unusual trades, but the career modes do add a further element of surprise when your own team makes deals that are beyond your control. As the All-Star Weekend and trade deadline loom, several such swaps have already occurred in my game. Here are five of the weirdest trades to date.
1. Cleveland trades Jordan Clarkson to the LA Clippers for Boban Marjanovic
As you would expect, the departure of LeBron James has affected the fortunes of the Cleveland Cavaliers as dramatically on the virtual hardwood as it did in real life. The Cavs are currently 17-35 in my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER, third worst in the East and the league overall. They’re clearly willing to try anything in their efforts to rebuild, including trading away Jordan Clarkson. In doing so, they’ve gone big – really big – by acquiring the 7’3″ Boban Marjanovic from the Los Angeles Clippers. The deal has only just gone down so it remains to be seen how it will work out for them, but clearly it’s a throwaway year for Cleveland anyway. If nothing else, he’s an expiring contract.
The Clippers aren’t faring much better, currently holding a record of 20-33. Adding Clarkson has created a bit of a logjam in the backcourt, though Lou Williams is out for 2-4 weeks with a high ankle sprain. This isn’t the weirdest of the trades I’ve seen occur so far, as it’s your standard “We’re both losing, so let’s trade spare parts and see what happens” type of deal, but it does seem unnecessary. Clarkson’s Clippers debut resulted in a win, so maybe it will be a good move in the long run. Nick Wright seems to think so, while Lang Whitaker isn’t a fan from Cleveland’s perspective. I’ll leave the final word to “nocaigas77”, who sums up their opinion with “IDGI”.
2. Chicago trades Antonio Blakeney to Oklahoma City for Andre Roberson
So there I was, playing another regular season game for the Chicago Bulls, grinding my way to better attributes and Badges, when suddenly I see an unfamiliar face sub into the game wearing number twenty-one. It’s Andre Roberson, formerly a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Because MyCAREER lacks a transactions screen (it really needs to have one, incidentally) and I hadn’t been keeping up with the news on the in-game social media, I wasn’t aware that the team had made any trades. In what I can only call an uncharacteristically shrewd move, GarPax dealt the 71 Overall-rated Antonio Blakeney for the 77 Overall-rated Roberson.
It seems that the Thunder were quite keen to rid themselves of Roberson, for whatever reason. Although the trade went down on January 10th, the team had apparently been shopping him since mid-December (while haughtily denying the rumours). Oklahoma City is 38-13 on the season – second in the West – which suggests they’re not missing him too much. At the risk of sounding like a toxic teammate, we don’t really need him either, as his contributions in around ten minutes per game aren’t having any kind of tangible impact. Still, on paper the Bulls got the better end of the deal, so I’m chalking it up as a rare victory for GarPax. If only they could make trades like that in real life!
3. Chicago trades Cristiano Felicio to New York for Joakim Noah
GarPax weren’t done making trades. By the end of the month, they had also shipped Cristiano Felicio to the New York Knicks for former Bull Joakim Noah, who was still on their roster when I started my game. Once again, I hadn’t been keeping up with the social media feed, so I was caught off-guard when I noticed Noah sitting next to me on the bench after being subbed out. Although the surprising reunion does make for an interesting twist in the story of my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER, it’s highly unlikely to say the least. Noah didn’t exactly leave Chicago on the best terms, and with the large contract he signed, I wouldn’t expect GarPax to want to bring him back, either.
I guess questionable trades and signings are their bread and butter, though. The move has indeed been questioned by Mike Trudell, given its financial ramifications. Noah also wanted to remain a Knick despite their 7-44 record, so even though it’s an odd trade, at least it captures the dysfunction that permeates New York’s front office. He’s only played a couple of games with the Bulls, coming off the bench both times. We don’t need him as we’re 47-5, riding a 35-game win streak thanks to some rookie who’s averaging 31.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 13.8 apg, and 1.7 spg, but I’m glad he’s along for the ride. Maybe I’ll try to get him some more minutes, now that I have influence.
4. Miami trades Hassan Whiteside to Memphis for Mike Conley
“Hey, that looks like Mike Conley!” I thought when I caught a glimpse of the Miami Heat’s bench before tip-off. I checked their roster via the stats screen, and yes, Mike Conley does indeed now play for the Heat in my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER. It’s easily one of the weirder trades thus far, as Goran Dragic is still in Miami. I highly doubt the Heat would be that keen to give up starting centre Hassan Whiteside, just to play two point guards alongside each other. Just to add to this catastrophe of a trade, Conley broke his leg in his Heat debut and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. Even so, Brett Pollakoff and Mike Trudell are apparently both fans of the move.
On the other hand, “Sierra68” would like to see the Memphis Grizzlies’ GM fired. It does seem like just as weird a trade from their end as Marc Gasol is still on the team, doubling up in the middle the same way the Heat have done at the point; a fact noted by Shams Charania. The rumour was that Whiteside planned on exercising his player option, which led to the Heat shopping him around. As per Rachel Nichols, however, he’s not keen on sticking around in Memphis, either. Weird trades like this do happen when teams feel their hand is forced, and the 18-35 Grizzlies will welcome the cap relief if he walks, but it’s still odd. As for the Heat, they’re still top eight in the East.
5. Philadelphia trades two players to Charlotte for Tony Parker
Here it is: the weirdest of the weird trades that have occurred so far! Midway through January, the Charlotte Hornets traded Tony Parker to the Philadelphia 76ers for two players, namely Demetrius Jackson and rookie Landry Shamet. Neither had played a single minute for the team this season, so it’s fair to say that both were expendable. With that in mind, Parker was likely going to be more productive than the two of them combined, even at this late stage of his career. Indeed, he’s become their starting point guard after coming off the bench for most of the season. His numbers aren’t spectacular, but I suppose it’s better than zeroes across the board.
Then again, maybe it isn’t. The 76ers are ninth in the East after losing eight in a row, currently the longest losing streak in the league. Trades like that are going to make it hard to Trust the Process! As for the Hornets, their newly acquired players have still yet to appear in a game, and they’re even lower in the standings at 19-32. It appears that they’ve written off the season, so maybe they wanted to give Parker a chance at going to the Playoffs this year. Now Philly gets to decide whether they want to pick up his option for next season. It’s one of those trades that looked like it might be a solid move on paper, but I’d suggest that it has backfired big time.
Have you had any weird trades occur in your MyCAREER, MyLEAGUE, or MyGM games in NBA 2K19? What are some of the strangest trades that you’ve seen the CPU pull the trigger on in basketball video games? Have your say in the comments section below, and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! That’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, have a great weekend, and please join me next week for another Five.