Reimer: Gordon Hayward’s chaotic free agency chase is new normal in professional sports
NBA fans have a new Independence Day tradition. Instead of spending the afternoon guzzling down cheap light beer, they’re glued to their smart phones, furiously refreshing Twitter for the latest free agency news. This year’s Gordon Hayward saga was particularly wild, with the climax arriving when ESPN refuted its own report about the All-Star forward coming to the Celtics.
Roughly three hours later, Hayward broke the news himself in a piece for The Players’ Tribune. In 2,096 words, he expressed gratitude towards the Jazz organization and explained why he’s joining the Celtics. There was no need for Hayward to give an interview or even pick up a phone call from a reporter. All of the information was right there.
It was a dizzying look into the modern world of free agency, where minute-by-minute updates are provided on social media for weeks on end –– even when there isn’t actual news to share. In the days leading up to Hayward’s decision, for example, there were streams of conflicting reports. The Heat were the supposed front-runners early last weekend, but then the Celtics reportedly held a great meeting with him Sunday. The Jazz made their final pitch on Monday, which reportedly caused Hayward to delay his decision.
Time moves slowly when you’re incessantly checking Twitter. But it’s important to remember that four days is an extraordinarily short period of time to make a life-altering decision. While Hayward was probably thinking about his free agency for months, if not years, it’s absurd to expect professional athletes and their representatives to pour over 10-figure contracts in a matter of hours. Oftentimes, it takes me that long to decide whether to get out of bed on Saturday mornings.
In an interview with the Desert News, Hayward’s agent said his client had changed his mind four times in four days. Hayward also wrote three Players’ Tribune articles –– one for each team he had met with. He planned to break the news first-hand.
That’s the new reality most NBA reporters not named Adrian Wojnarowski must confront: you can spend weeks chasing down a story, providing updates about all of the minutia along the way. But when the final decision is made, you’ll have to read about it like everybody else.
In each of the last two years, the biggest free agency signings were both first announced on The Players’ Tribune. Last summer, Kevin Durant penned an essay on July 4 explaining his bombshell decision to sign with the Warriors. The piece crashed the website, because it drew so much traffic.
The rapid fire nature of NBA and NFL free agency plays perfectly to our dwindling attention spans. This year, NBA free agency was kind of over before it even started. The Clippers’ re-signing of Blake Griffin and Oklahoma City’s acquisition of Paul George broke a couple of hours before midnight on July 1.
Then, for the next four days, all eyes turned to Hayward. And now, less than 48 hours after his decision, the celebration is over. The Celtics might be interested in Marc Gasol. There are more rumors to chase.
Full article @ Reimer: Gordon Hayward’s chaotic free agency chase is new normal in professional sports
Source: GreenStreet Blog