Welcome back, NBA. Let's recap all the drama before a much-needed hardwood refuge
On a private plane headed to San Francisco, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was catching up with a long-lost friend he hasn’t seen in months.
Larry had been asleep for a few months and needed Silver to fill in some blanks before arriving at Chase Center. Silver and his golden friend usually make some rounds before the playoffs but as custom, the two part after the Finals and reconnect in October before the new season begins.
Edited for clarity, here’s a transcript obtained by Yahoo Sports on their (fictional) conversation:
Larry O: Adam! The last I remember was the Finals, Boston giving Golden State a really good run. All those young players, that great young coach, Ime Udoka, who brought them along through the season. They’ve got to have a really cool future ahead, right?
Adam Silver: Well, kinda, sorta. That Ime Udoka, he had some issues that will pull him away from the team this season. He was caught in a bit of a scandal.
Adam: Yes, he was having an inappropriate relationship with another member of the organization. That goes against company protocol. And it’s really a sensitive situation.
Larry: It seems really ugly.
Adam: Yeah, I was disappointed to say the least. Such a shining star and now, I’m not sure of his future, with the Celtics or the league.
Larry: Well, Golden State, you have to be proud of the Warriors, right? They’re the picture of organizational stability and harmony! Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green —
Adam: Um, about Draymond.
Larry: Wait, what happened with Draymond?
Adam: He … recently punched a teammate at a practice.
Adam: And … TMZ obtained the footage. Before you ask, it wasn’t Steph. It was Jordan Poole, someone he was really close to. Really unfortunate situation. He spent some time away from the team, but I’ll be around to give him his championship ring on opening night.
Larry: You didn’t suspend him?
Adam: No, I let the Warriors handle it. I didn’t want to intervene on team matters. I’ve been told by NBA Twitter these things happen all the time.
Larry: Now that I think of it, Adam, you had your hands full with the Phoenix situation. That was a pretty long investigation, and last I checked, you were close to a conclusion. Did you come up with anything?
Adam: I did! I suspended Robert Sarver for a year after my findings.
Larry: Not for life, like you did with Donald Sterling all those years ago?
Adam: Not exactly. I had to walk deftly. After suspending him for a year, the sponsors were so indignant about the findings, they threatened not to renew so Mr. Sarver is now looking for a buyer for the teams.
(The two fist-bump.)
Larry: Deftly, eh?
Larry: Well, I remember Kevin Durant being a fairly unhappy chap once he was on the big stage. Seems like he’s in a happy space now, right?
Adam: He is, now.
Adam: Well he went through this phase — you know these millennials — where he asked for a trade out of Brooklyn for a minute.
Larry: Didn’t the Nets give him everything he wanted? His coach, Kyrie and anything else?
Adam: Well yes, but he was looking for a way out. I think he might’ve favored Miami or Phoenix. But he’s back in Brooklyn and they’re trying to make it work.
Larry: That’s different. Usually these trade demands are followed by … trades. Why not this time?
Adam: The Nets just … refused to trade him. So, it’ll be Kevin and Kyrie and Ben Simmons, trying to make it work. Even though he asked for the coach and GM to be fired.
Larry: This sounds like a mess.
Adam: It was, but they didn’t trade him.
Larry: Noble concept. So you mean to say the Knicks are the flagship franchise in New York?
Adam: Not really. They won’t answer my calls. Or talk to the media, either.
Larry: In New … York … City?
Larry: OK, OK. The draft! I’m really, really looking forward to seeing the tall, skinny kid, Chet what’s-his-name.
Adam: You mean Chet Holmgren.
Adam: He’s out for a while, maybe the year. Injured himself during a summer pro-am. Defending LeBron on a fast break.
Larry: Oklahoma City, right? He’ll be out for the whole year, I’m betting. So Adam, what do I have to look forward to?
Adam: Well, Zion is back. And so is Kawhi after that year off with the knee injury. And LeBron is going after Kareem’s all-time scoring record. And Ja and Luka and Embiid are all pretty fabulous, I think.
Larry: So, you mean the game is taking center stage.
“That’s right,” Silver says, with a smile. “The game is the focus.”
With that, the friend returned the smile and thanked Silver for taking time out of his day before being shuffled to San Francisco for ring night.