Here at Zero Hanger, we love player movement.
We love it so much that in our lunchtime foosball matches, we swap players over from team to team.
Okay, not really, but you see where I’m going.
Last season, Hawthorn traded away their top-two vote getters in their best and fairest – Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis – in order to sign two young superstars in a bid to extend their stay at the top of the AFL ladder. It was a mini rebuild of sorts, while West Coast and Melbourne, the two beneficiaries of these trades, received two of the most experienced and seasoned veterans in the competition, each with four premierships under their belt.
Has this trade paved the way for the future of football?
In the NBA, it’s something that has been happening for years and has the potential to pay big dividends if you make the right moves.
Five-time Los Angeles Lakers champion Derek Fisher is one example of a player who left a team he’d played with for 13 of his 16 seasons until he left to join the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team who at the time were on the rise and competing for a championship.
A players role in the new team may not have to be as big as the one on their old team however the trade often occurs to bring experience to the club – and in Mitchell’s case, with an eye on coaching in the future.
A more successful case is that of Ray Allen. Albeit through free agency, the veteran joined the Miami Heat, who had lost in the NBA finals in the previous season.
Formerly a starting shooting guard, Allen came off the bench in a diminished role however provided valuable minutes when on the court.
This signing led to Allen hitting arguably the most iconic 3-pointer in NBA history, one that would eventually lead to the Heat winning the NBA title.
Analysts, former players, current players and coaches are often saying how invaluable finals experience is on the big stage and this is an opportunity for teams that require that, to gain it.
Jordan Lewis turns 31 years old next month and while he may not be as quick as he once was across the MCG turf, he possesses the ability to pass on his knowledge and footy smarts to young midfielders like Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney – a core of midfielders that will carry the Demons to their first finals appearance since 2006.
The final years of Harvey’s career were on far less coin than he had originally wanted and probably deserved given the level of his play right up until last year.
Maybe a side like Fremantle – who were at the pointy end of the ladder but struggled to get enough points on the board – could’ve offered Harvey more money and given him a bigger role in their set up.
North in return would’ve had extra cap space to sign a younger player in a similar role or in a position of need at the time, potentially allowing them to extend their premiership window.
Again, a players consent to being traded must be waived in order for this scenario to happen with full affect as teams are in the business to win, not to make players happy.
Finally, the AFL commission have to be applauded because they aren’t scared to change tradition or get rid of it all together. They aren’t scared to change the rules or experiment with the game.
Sometimes you have to, in order to make things better.
The AFL is changing.
You may not like it. I may not like it but the fact of the matter is that sometimes change is necessary.
As Alistair Clarkson said, “if it ain’t broke, fix it anyway.”