De'Andre Hunter is not a Los Angeles Laker. Jarrett Culver is not a member of the Phoenix Suns.
But if you were watching the NBA Draft on Thursday night and weren't following every trade, you probably thought otherwise.
With multiple trades occurring in both rounds last night, it's easy to get confused about what teams own what pick, because the NBA has made it this way.
The NBA has some fairly strict rules that get followed on trades, with most trades agreed to in recent days held in flux until the new league year starts on July 6.
So while Hunter wore a Los Angeles Lakers hat on stage, during the biggest moment of his life, everyone in the building and everyone watching knew he was actually an Atlanta Hawk.
And while Culver wore a Suns hat in every draft night photo, everyone knew he was actually going to Minnesota.
Of course, the players will say they don't care. Hunter and Culver both said they were just happy to be on an NBA team.
“It’s kind of different,” Culver said. “I’m just happy to be in the NBA and have this opportunity. It’s a lot of work to be done. So wherever I end up, I’ve got to stay true to myself and give whatever team I’m playing for everything I’ve got.”
“I don’t necessarily know what I’m going to do with it,” Hunter said of his Lakers cap. “Probably give it to a Lakers fan. Have them wear it.”
Hunter and Culver are only two examples of this happening on Thursday night. Players were getting traded all night, and very few of the deals could be officially announced (or even spoken of) because they aren’t “finalized” yet.
Here's another illogical scenario that happened last night: The Bucks owned the No. 30 pick. The traded the pick to Detroit on Wednesday night. Detroit traded the pick to Cleveland on draft night. But the Bucks still made the pick, Kevin Porter Jr., who was wearing a hat two teams removed from where he was actually playing.
"He's been here since day 1 ..."@Kevinporterjr spoke with @MariaTaylor on #NBADraft night about how he's honoring his father, who was shot and killed when he was 4. pic.twitter.com/l6mcQWVXhC — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2019
It's a mystery as to how they haven't solved this issue yet.
It's not the first year we've seen the hat problem. It's been happening year after year, and the league doesn't seem to care, despite trade activity continuing to increase.
These players will have to look back at these photos, a night of celebration and the start of their NBA careers, and see themselves wearing hats, standing in front of logos for teams they never played for. It takes away from the glory of the night. It's a huge distraction to everyone involved.
To make matters worse, the trade issues extend past the hats. With NBA Summer League starting on July 1, teams won't be able to get prospects they traded for playing until trades clear on July 6.
The NBA can figure this out. And they should. Come on, Adam Silver.
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
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