What some may see as a cover curse for the "NBA 2K" franchise — afflicting the respective franchises represented rather than the players themselves — struck quickly for "NBA 2K18" with a trade between the Cavs and Celtics which sent Kyrie Irving to Boston. Irving appears on the standard edition of the game due out Sept. 15.

With just over three weeks until the game's release, it's somewhat unlikely that publisher 2K Sports will be able to ship the game with new cover art that features Irving as a Celtic. Games are finalized, a term known as having "gone gold," sometimes over a month in advance to allow enough time for manufacturing and shipping of the product to retailers.

It's rare that a cover star's place in the league changes dramatically while the game is being promoted or shortly after the player appears on a cover. Video game publishers intentionally select players considered to be stable, reliable and obviously valued by their organizations. They'll shy away from anyone who has personal troubles off the court/field, is a free agent or has been involved in trade rumors. The Irving drama came as a surprise to everyone.