Share “NBA trade deadline: The Scott Brooks rule”

Oklahoman Modified: February 18, 2010 at 9:45 am •  Published: February 18, 2010

Today’s NBA trade deadline is 3 p.m. Eastern time. The deadline used to be 9 p.m. before the 1996 implementation of what has become known as the "Scott Brooks Rule.”

Yup, the Thunder coach helped change the landscape of the league’s annual trade deadline. Add Brooks to the book of basketball rules:

→The George Mikan Rule, which widened the lane and initiated the 3-second rule.

→The Wilt Chamberlain Rule, which made it illegal for a player to cross the free-throw line when shooting a free throw.

→The Lew Alcindor Rule, which briefly forbid dunking in college ball.

→The Larry Bird Rule, which is a salary-cap exception for qualified veteran free agents.

→And the Scott Brooks Rule, which prevents a player from being traded at halftime on deadline day.

The NBA actually has no formal "Scott Brooks Rule,” but the experience was so gut-wrenching, Brooks quickly became a martyr amongst his peers.

Here’s what happened: Somewhere around 8 p.m. local time on Feb. 23, 1995, Brooks was on the court during his team’s halftime warmup session when Houston Rockets general manager Bob Weinhauer waved Brooks over and informed him he had been traded to Dallas.

"Well, that’s a great way to tell me,” Brooks said, or words to that effect.

Brooks never saw it coming. He thought he had survived the deadline. Nine days earlier against the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooks had erupted for 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting and also had four rebounds and four assists.

"I remember my wife (Sherry) and some buddies giving me the thumbs up (from the stands) saying, ‘I’m not traded. I’m back,’” Brooks recounted of trade day. "I remember going in at halftime and listening to all the halftime adjustments. I was in the layup line. All the sudden, Bob Weinhauer says, ‘Come here.’”

Brooks had been traded from the world champion Rockets (33-19 at the time) to the non-playoff Mavericks (20-30). Houston would go on to repeat as champion that season, but Brooks was not given a second world championship ring and was voted no playoff bonus.


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