WASHINGTON, DC – It’s been weeks since Iman Shumpert found himself headed to the Cavaliers from his longtime home in New York and there’s a few things he still hasn’t figured out.
Among the most important for anyone who followed how much it meant to him in New York? His hair.
“As far as me having to move and move everything, I haven’t been able to get as many haircuts as I want,” he said. “My brother lives with me, so he cuts my hair but because right now he’s trying to make the transition, I haven’t been able to get as many haircuts as I want, so I haven’t been combing it.”
When dozens of players were traded shortly before the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday, they and their families found themselves dealing with for some a familiar logistical challenge. For others, it’s a new experience with a potential logistical nightmare.
Chris Dingman who runs The Dingman Group, which specializes in athlete relocation for all five major sports, said there’s decisions about whether to buy or sell houses, send cars and generally move lives – while the athlete is often already on a plane to join their new team. And then, of course, there’s dealing with the general emotion of uprooting their lives.
“For the most part it’s the sense of being overwhelmed and a lot to do — usually it falls on the wife, girlfriend, fiancée, mom or family,” he said. “(Sometimes) the spouse says ‘I’m pregnant I have one kid in school and he’s already gone to catch a team on the roadtrip’ and she’s stuck dealing with everything. They really do feel the burden of a lot of this stuff and we’re just there to put a plan in place.”
Shumpert said that his girlfriend and brother took care of most of the moving and settling in. For awhile, he lived in a hotel – which Dingman said isn’t uncommon for many players while they look for more permanent housing or if they don’t want to get too settled into a city where they’re not guaranteed to be in for a long time.
“You’re living out of a suitcase, that’s annoying,” said Shumpert of life after he was first traded. “Meals, you’re not eating home-cooked meals, you’re just ordering stuff from the hotel. There’s other little things that happen after you first get traded, but things settled down.”
And then there’s the whole awkward part of walking into a new locker room and learning the new playbook and meeting your new teammates – many of whom you’ve gone up against for years.
Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith found himself in the same locker room as Shawn Marion, whose shoes he had once untied during a game. “Me and Shawn joked about it for awhile,” he said.
Wizards center Marcin Gortat said it was one of those parts of the game that gets much easier after a few years in the league.
“Of course it’s hard, you have to adjust to a lot of things,” said Gortat. “It takes two-three months to adjust to a new team sometimes, so it is what it is. But the later it comes to you in your career, the trade is easier. I mean you know a lot of people around the league, you have a lot of teammates you know.
“It’s easier when you are older,” he added. “But when you are young, it’s hard.”
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