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Ask An Athlete: What’s It Like To Play When Surrounded By Trade Rumors?

Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz watches a shot during warm ups before their game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on December 25, 2018 in Salt Lake City , Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With the NBA trade deadline looming and Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio’s name being tossed around in possible moves the Jazz will make.

Scott Mitchell and Jason Buck, hosts of Rivals Podcast and NFL veterans, had a conversation about what it’s like to be in the center of trade or contract extension rumors.   

Rubio’s name came up in a possible scenario involving draft picks and Memphis point guard Mike Conley.

The deadline for the Jazz to make moves is Thursday, February 7th at 1 p.m. 

“The politics of it are not different (between football and basketball),” said Buck.


MORE:


Cincinnati Cuts Buck Seconds Before Trade Deadline

Jason told a story on Rivals Podcast about when his name was being thrown around in a possible trades during his last year with the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead of being traded he was cut from the team.

Mitchell wondered if it was better to be cut or traded. Buck said it is better to be cut in the NFL because you have more options and can talk to multiple teams rather than pushed into one.

“The entire year before that I was there, I knew I was I gone,” Buck remembered.

Offensive linemen Rory Graves of the Los Angeles Raiders blocks defensive linemen Jason Buck of the Cincinnati Bengals during a game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. (Getty Images)

Mitchell said to understand the politics of situations like this you must first understand how professional sports locker rooms work. He described that when you play for an NFL team there is constant, daily interaction between players and coaches.

“It’s a long day and it’s a long season,” Mitchell said.

He described coaches having private meetings where they would talk about the players and then the players would have to go to a meeting with all of the coaches, “and behind your back, they are going, ‘we don’t like him,”’ said Mitchell.

“You can tell when the fix is in … they don’t make eye contact and they ignore you,” Mitchell described.

Buck said that sometimes in the NFL it goes as far as a coach telling you to play a certain technique in practice and completely changing it during the game.
“They actually set you up to fail because they are against you,” Buck told Mitchell.


🔊 LISTEN: Jason Buck cut seconds before trade deadline; other teams unable to pick him up


Mitchell Benched, Traded To Baltimore

Mitchell recalled a time when he was traded from one bad situation to another. The Detroit Lions traded him to the Baltimore Ravens.

When Mitchell played for the Detroit Lions he described their offense with Barry Sanders, Herman Moore and himself as “really explosive.” Their offensive coordinator was Tom Moore, who later left Detroit and went to the Indianapolis Colts, where they ran a similar offense with Peyton Manning.

Scott Mitchell in action against the Cincinnati Bengals. (Credit: Vincent Laforet /Allsport via Getty)

In the middle of the season, their head coach was fired. A new one came in and completely changed the offensive scheme, according to Mitchell.

“(The new offense) was never going to work,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell described not being allowed to have meetings with the offensive coordinator during the weeks leading up to games, which is unheard of in the NFL.

The former Ute got benched after the second game. After that, he claimed the meetings started happening with the new quarterback, and they started implementing some of the plays used in the previous offense.

“To me, it’s unprofessional,” Mitchell concluded.


🔊 LISTEN: Mitchell calls out Detroit Lions coaching staff 


For more insight like this, subscribe to Rivals Podcast wherever you get your podcasts or on the KSL Sports app.

Hear the full episode below.