Draft night trades are par for the course in the NBA, but they often involve a roller coaster of emotions for prospects on the biggest night of their young lives.
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Ray Allen fifth overall in the 1996 NBA draft before shipping him to Milwaukee for the draft rights to Stephon Marbury, and Allen recently admitted the situation made him "miserable."
“So now I’m miserable, because I’m like a man without a home. I didn’t know why I was going to Minnesota. Nobody wanted me. Then I go to Milwaukee, and they don’t want me, so I was like this actually didn’t turn out the way I hoped," Allen said on Ready or Not: The '96 NBA Draft documentary that aired Sunday on NBA TV.
Allen spent his first seven NBA seasons in Milwaukee, so the situation worked itself out. However, the psychology behind draft-night trades is an unexplored and interesting topic.
In 2018, Mikal Bridges was selected by his hometown Philadelphia 76ers, who employed his mother, only to get traded to the Phoenix Suns on draft night.
Allen's comments provide some behind-the-scenes context to the situation, one that was likely made more difficult given the Hall of Famer's college stardom. A standout during his time at UConn, Allen was a consensus All-American and 1995 USA Basketball Men's Athlete of the Year. There may have been no more accomplished collegiate player in that class, yet he had to watch four others go ahead of him on draft day.
While things worked out for Allen, it's fair to wonder if bruised egos wind up playing a factor in some rookie struggles.