When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, everyone in the building and watching on TV was two steps ahead of him.
That fourth pick had already been passed around twice — from the Lakers to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis trade, and then from the Pelicans to the Atlanta Hawks in a draft-day deal that brought them the eighth, 17th and 35th picks.
In other words, Hunter was going to the Hawks. Yet, here he was on stage — shaking hands, being photographed and being interviewed — wearing the hat of a team he’ll never play for.
This is a weird scene that feels like it could be rectified fairly easily. De’Andre Hunter will not play for the Lakers, obviously. pic.twitter.com/ps1l5u22Vx
— Joshua Needelman (@JoshNeedelman) June 21, 2019
He wasn’t the only one. Through the first 11 picks Thursday night, five players — Hunter, Jarrett Culver, Jaxson Hayes, Cam Reddish and Cameron Johnson — were being traded to other teams but stood on stage wearing hats of teams they’ll never play for.
Fans found it ridiculous and frustrating, bombarding social media with memes and complaints.
The NBA should simply list all of the actual trades as they take place and put the correct hats on these first-round picks. There will be at least 10 guys in the wrong hat tonight as a result of trades that don’t become official until later.
— Greg Logan (@GregLogan1) June 21, 2019
My No. 1 pet peeve & THE MOST ANNOYING THING IN SPORTS. The Lakers “just selected” when THEY TRADED THAT DAMN PICK TO THE PELICANS WHO TRADED THAT PICK TO THE DAMN HAWKS. Yet when DeAndre Hunter is wearing #Lakers crap, Adam Silver announces Laker picked him… #NBADraft UGH pic.twitter.com/1DnGQbe0vV
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) June 21, 2019
And STILL the #NBADraft goes through the farce of having the team with the original pick make the selection on behalf of the new team in the slot and forces the player to make like a dufus by wearing the wrong team’s hat for his picture/interview!!!!! Brilliant!! https://t.co/fTLNQEwJ6C
— GiantsWFAN (@giantswfan) June 20, 2019
Even an NFL coach found it annoying, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Text from NFL coach: “Gotta get the NBA to change the ‘trade rules’ so they don’t keep sending these kids up there with wrong hats on – embarrassing.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 21, 2019
The problem is the trades can’t be finalized until July 6, when the new NBA season starts.
It’s silly to go through this charade, many fans said, noting the league could fix it by either moving up the start of free agency and the new season or pushing back the draft.
The NBA Draft either needs to move back or the new league year needs to move up or we just need to stop being silly with the wrong hats.
The NBA is usually very conscientious and on top of things but this is ridiculous. #NBADraft19
— Collin Brennan (@Cbrennan_USAT) June 21, 2019
Or, failing that, just ditch the idea of wearing hats all together. It’s basketball, after all, not baseball.
We need to do away with the hats. These dudes come out dresssed to kill and the league puts hats on em. Deandre Hunter has to don a Lakers cap… https://t.co/HXcAuxlZgE
— Matthew Danieluk (@MatthewDanieluk) June 21, 2019
And some of the hats don’t fit anyway.
But seriously, this is the biggest moment of these players’ young lives and they are forever documented wearing the wrong hats. Given the number of draft-day trades we’ve seen in recent years, it’s time for the NBA to figure this out.
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