When Smith expressed a general interest in rejoining the Cavs, the following dayís in

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Old 12-29-2008, 06:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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When Smith expressed a general interest in rejoining the Cavs, the following dayís in

The rumor began with a simple question posed to Thunder forward Joe Smith last week about whether heíd be open to playing for Cleveland again.
When Smith expressed a general interest in rejoining the Cavs, the following dayís internet headlines boldly declared Smith wanted out of Oklahoma City and hoped to be dealt or have his contract bought out so that he could return to the Cavs.

What went untold is the impact the report had on Smith and his family.

Smithís wife, Yolanda, immediately contacted her husband via e-mail after a friend informed her of the report. She asked Joe if he did indeed say he desired to be traded.

"She knows I never talk like that,Ē Smith said. "She knows Iím not ever going to put myself in a position where I can be judged negatively. So thatís what she didnít appreciate, and thatís what I didnít appreciate.

"Thatís what people have to realize, it doesnít just affect us as players, it affects our families as well when we hear whateverís said or whateverís written.Ē

Itís a problem NBA players grow accustomed to, but one Thunder players must battle over the next seven weeks as the Feb. 19 trading deadline nears and rumors heat up.

More than half of the Thunderís roster is likely to hear their names mentioned in trade winds from now until February. Denver, Toronto, Miami and Orlando are also reportedly interested in Smith, whose veteran savvy and skills, along with his expiring contract, have made him a hot commodity.

Nick Collison, Desmond Mason, Damien Wilkins, Earl Watson and Chris Wilcox have also been at the heart of speculation.

Some of itís legit. Most of it is not.

But Thunder players, already toiling through a dreadful 3-28 season, are now faced with the task of staying focused on basketball while trying to block out the inevitable business end.

"Iíve been around guys who have been mentioned quite a bit,Ē said Mason, who has been traded three times in his career and is another valued player because of his hustle and expiring contract. "I think it weighs on your mind after a while.

"Iíd always rather somebody let me know so I can be prepared for it rather than it being spur of the moment.Ē

Collison, who has never been traded, said he does his best to avoid paying attention to the rumors.

"I know a lot of times it comes from nowhere,Ē Collison said. "Itís probably nothing coming from a team but just speculation on what might happen.Ē

Said Smith: "I just learned through the years to deal with the situation at hand. Whatever team youíre on, youíre still going to war with those guys. Whatever happens, happens.Ē
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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good article.

I hate how we, and the media, treat players like objects. The guys are human, just like we are.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:51 PM   #3 (permalink)

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Old 12-30-2008, 08:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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