Trail Blazers' Night Begins With Sudden Josh Hart Trade, Ends With Much-Needed Win Over Warriors
Hart was pulled off the floor minutes before the Blazers tipped off against Golden State.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Less than 10 minutes before Wednesday night's tipoff, it became clear something was up.
In the lead-up to the trade deadline, no Trail Blazers player's name had been more prominent in trade rumors than Josh Hart. It was a virtual lock that their game against the Warriors, 17 hours before Thursday afternoon's trade deadline, would be his final game in a Portland uniform. He didn't even make it that far.
During the team's pregame warmups, Hart was pulled aside by a staffer and abruptly left the court, giving Damian Lillard a hug on the way back into the tunnel. Slowly, the players all crowded around the phone of Rick Riley, the team's director of security, presumably to read this tweet.
Around the same time, a member of the Blazers' media-relations staff walked over to public-address announcer Mark Mason and television commentators Kevin Calabro and Lamar Hurd, presumably to alert them that Gary Payton II would replace Hart in the starting lineup.
That's what it looks like when a player gets traded in real time. Now, you have a game to play. And the Blazers did something they haven't done a lot lately: went out and handled business against a team in their same tier of Western Conference play-in/playoff bubble hopefuls.