Mid-Season Trades Jolt Lives of Prince, Randolph
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Switching teams is one thing. Doing so in the middle of the season? That’s a whole other story.
Veteran forwards Tayshaun Prince and Shavlik Randolph are learning that lesson first-hand. Each player was acquired by the Celtics last week and joined the team for the first time at Sunday’s practice at Santa Monica High School.
Prior to his arrival with the C’s, Prince, a 13-year veteran and former NBA champion, had switched teams only once during his NBA career. Now having made the second move of his career, the forward was reminded that mid-season trades place quite a strain on one’s family life.
“That’s the toughest part about the whole trade is being traded in the middle of the season, especially when you have a family,” Prince said Sunday afternoon. “I think younger guys who don’t have a wife and kids and all that kind of stuff, it’s easier for them to pick up and go.”
Fortunately for Prince, he’s now playing for a first-class organization that takes that fact into consideration.
“After the trade happened and everything I talked to Danny (Ainge) for a while and my family wasn’t with me in Memphis at the time,” Prince recalled. “So he told me to take a couple of days, go see your family before you report and he gave me that opportunity. So I was very blessed to have an opportunity like that.”
Randolph is in a much different situation than Prince. The 31-year-old is not married with children. He also has never been traded despite having played for five different NBA organizations. Randolph is still getting over the initial shock of being removed from one team’s culture and being inserted into another.
“It was difficult for me,” Randolph said, “because I’ve been on the same team (Phoenix) for last season and the first half of this season.”
Still, the big man is trying to look at the move with a glass-half-full mentality.
“It’s the first time I’ve been traded, but fortunately I was able to come back to a team that I’ve been with before,” he said. “I looked at it as a positive.”
While each player has different circumstances surrounding their respective move to the Celtics, there is one similarity: both players are attempting to pick up the team’s playbook on the fly.
For Prince and Randolph, there is no training camp. There is not even a place for them to call home. They joined the team at the onset of a six-game, 12-day road trip on the West Coast, and they’re now expected to learn Boston’s system and contribute as early as Monday afternoon against the Clippers.
Both players anticipate being active for Monday’s game against L.A. Still, though, Brad Stevens is doing his best to ease each player into the team while not overloading them with plays and schemes.
“I sat down with both Tayshaun and Shavlik today and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to help you as much as I can as fast as I can, but I’m not going to overdo it.’” Stevens revealed. “I’m not going to throw you into the fire without you feeling comfortable with it.”
Stevens says this is a fresh mindset for him. As a second-year NBA coach, he’s still learning what the best plan of attack is to integrate new players into his team in the middle of the season.
“The learning process from the last time that we had major movement, just four weeks ago or so, was that in retrospect I wouldn’t have rushed getting guys in as quickly,” he said.
Prince and Randolph can sleep well tonight knowing that Stevens won’t throw them to the dogs Monday afternoon. However, they’re still dealing with plenty of adversity on the peripherals.
Prince is adjusting to life with a new team, and for now, life without his family. Randolph, meanwhile, is overcoming the shock and chaos of switching teams on the fly, a life he has never experienced before.
These are circumstances that do not surround offseason transactions, but following mid-season trades, they are real world issues for the two newest Celtics.