The business side of sports is one that can often times be cruel for players, as they can be dealt anywhere in a moment’s notice, unless they have a no-trade clause, which is becoming increasingly more common. But the players aren’t the only ones that fall victim to the cold nature of the business side of sports, as the fans are often forced to adapt to life without their favorite players, as was the case when the Houston Rockets recently dealt James Harden (at his request).
But long before Harden was moved, the Rockets made another significant trade involving their face of the franchise at the time, Steve Francis, who was named the Co-Rookie of the Year and made three consecutive All-Star appearances.
Francis had just concluded his first season with incoming Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, which culminated in the only postseason appearance of Francis’ career. Francis posted averages of 19.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.6 assists, while shooting 41.2 percent from three during the Rockets 2004 opening round series against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Shortly after the series concluded, Francis was shipped away to the Orlando Magic for Tracy McGrady, in a move that Francis didn’t see coming.
Steve Francis shares frustration about Houston Rockets trade involving McGrady
Francis recently joined the Knuckleheads podcast, which is sponsored by the Players Tribune, to open up on the frustrations he had with the trade and how it caught him off guard.
“It was shocking. The shocking part was that I actually talked to the coach that week. I was like if you’re going to trade me, let me know.
[Jeff Van Gundy said] No, no, no, no, no.
I’m on vacation, I’m chilling. Somebody said, ‘Yo you’re about to get traded.’ I was like yeah right, I just talked to Jeff. So then the next day, boom I’m on the trade line.”
After getting over the initial shock of getting moved, Francis then shifted his focus to Orlando’s front office.
“So then I was like who is the GM?
And they told me the general manager for the Orlando Magic was a hockey guy. He really didn’t know too much about basketball so I was like, yo look.
I pulled a Donald Trump. And I don’t even like Donald Trump. I’m not leaving, y’all are gonna have to trade me!
I had just got a brand new house, my dream house. It was in 2004, I had just built my house. And I did MTV Cribs. Y’all going to trade me now?
So I was a little torn because I had just finished my house. I talked to my pastor and he was like, look man, it’s a business. So that right there showed me.”
We often hear the phrase “it’s a business” and this about summed it up best, as Francis had just had a home custom-built in Greatwood, which sits in the Houston suburb of Sugarland.
Francis went on to play 124 games in Orlando, posting averages of 19.4 points, 6.5 assists, and 5.4 rebounds, before getting moved to the New York Knicks. Francis retired in 2010 and recently founded the Houston Push, alongside his former teammate Moochie Norris, who will be the GM of the team.
Perhaps now Francis will be able to get a taste of the other side of making a splash trade.