July 08, 2009
I couldn't believe the San Antonio Spurs actually wanted Marcus Haislip. Until I was handed a rather disturbing, because it was in mp3 format, recording of Spurs GM R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich discussing the deal. Here is what I was able to transcribe.
R.J. Buford: Hey Pop. I just had stop in to clarify something. I've gotten the two mixed up since 2002, as well, but you meant "Chris Wilcox," right?
Gregg Popovich: No, Haislip.
Buford: Marcus Haislip?
Popovich: Same guy.
Buford: Not really the same guy. He's much worse. Much, much worse. Pretty awful, actually. Are you sure that-
Popovich: You don't think I actually want to play the guy, do you? Or even sign him?
Buford: Why did you ask me to call around about him?
know what people think about us, right?
Buford: What "people?"
Popovich: The "people." They're always around. Working through my socks. I could have been a spy, you know. Right out of a le Carré novel. Instead, you gave me Jackie Butler(notes). You cut me at the hamstrings. You outed me. You hurted me. I want something back. I want to mess with people.
Buford: Why? And with Haislip?
Popovich: I can't tell you, and yes.
Popovich: First of all, it was a Cheval ...
Buford: Doesn't matter.
Popovich: And I was hardly at a burger joint, rather, a Ruby ...
Buford: Doesn't matter. What are you on about?
Popovich: I just want to [mess] with people.
Buford: That's admirable. In what way?
Popovich: Signing Marcus Haislip.
Buford: Not admirable. Why?
Popovich: I want to keep them on edge. They think we do everything right. We're so fundamentally-sound. So, how do you say, internationale? We got Richard Jefferson(notes) for expiring deals, we picked up DeJuan Blair(notes) in the second round, we made monsters out of Parker and ...
Buford: So, you're saying you want to make a low-risk, low-cost transaction, in order to purposely devalue our respect around the league, in order to lower expectations as we work with the possible $23 million in expiring contracts that we could offer to teams as trade bait while rest of the league approaches the vaunted 2010 offseason?
Popovich: No, I just want to [mess] with people.
Popovich: Nobody's supposed to be as good as us. We're, essentially, in Cincinnati with better food. I'm awesome, you're hidden, Duncan's underrated, Ginobili and Parker came out of nowhere, and we still scare the piss out of people. You think we're doing anything with Jefferson next year? Probably not. But the rest of the league still thinks of us as the mean computer that gets everything right.
Buford: We're not "mean." We're not even a computer. That's Houston.
Popovich: Doesn't matter. I just want to keep them wondering why we'd go after someone like Haislip.
Buford: Even if we don't take advantage of them underestimating us?
Popovich: Doesn't matter to me. I'm out of here as soon as Duncan splits. I've got an invisible plane to build in Papua New Guinea.
Buford: Hold on, you told me that your involvement with the U.S. Government was ...
Popovich: (Flashes what appears to be an LED light in Buford's eyes, rendering him unconscious, relegating the last 20 minutes of his life unmemorable. Slowly glides him to the concrete floor. Tosses an unlit cigarette onto his chest.
Drinks the dregs of a bottle of Chartar beurre blanc - it does exist, to him - that was placed behind the left rear wheel of his Aston Martin V12 Vantage, slowly drives out of the parking garage humming "Tea for the Tillerman.")