"You've just gotta laugh so you don't cry, you know?"
Throughout the poignant footage of the Toronto Raptors locker room following news of the Rudy Gay trade, no words resonate more as we're exposed to an emotional side of the game that we don't typically see.
As Aaron Gray slowly walked around the locker room, coming to grips with the fact that he'd been traded from the Raptors to the Sacramento Kings, he looked right at the camera and spoke that sentence (13:55 in the video you can see below), echoing how just about everyone felt at the time.
It's hard to remember sometimes, but the world of sports is more than just a business.
At the heart of the NBA, everything is about numbers and money. However, there's sometimes a rather large dichotomy between the business decisions of the front offices and the personal relationships that are formed by the employed players.
When a trade goes down—even one that had been brewing, just maybe not in the form that eventually became a reality—it catches everyone by surprise. It splits up friendships and creates new dynamics in the locker room.
It forces players to change their lives.
Even the ones who stay lose their texting buddies, dinner partners and friends with whom they decompress after a tough loss. The ones who go, well, their lives obviously change in more tangible ways.
When we think about a trade like the one that sent Gay to Sacramento, we tend to analyze them like Rob Mahoney did for Sports Illustrated. We think about how the personnel changes affect the on-court product and the future cap space of the team, which is a perfectly natural reaction.
But every trade—much like the Gay one—is about more than just what happens to the product on the court. Relationships matter too, and you need only watch the above video to realize the full extent of each player's devotion to one another.
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