A Fictional-But-Maybe-Factual Account Of The DeMarcus Cousins Trade
To celebrate the end of the NBA’s trade deadline, I thought I would write a completely 100% fictional but potentially 97% accurate account of how the biggest (and most ridiculous) trade of the 2016–17 season went down. That, of course, was Sacramento sending their All-Star center, DeMarcus Cousins, to New Orleans for … stuff. The subjects are real. Their words are not. Probably.
New Orleans, LA. All-Star Weekend.
After checking into his room at the W New Orleans — French Quarter, Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac runs into an Unnamed GM in the hotel lobby.
GM: So DeMarcus is back on the market?
Vlade scans the lobby suspiciously.
Vlade: I don’t know nothing about nothing.
The Unnamed GM gives him a look.
GM: You just left me a voicemail like 40 minutes ago.
Vlade: Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t.
Then Vlade pulls out his phone and types: I did.
The GM is really confused but the idea of getting Cousins is too tantalizing.
Vlade: Can we … boogie?
The GM’s eye get big.
GM: I can give you-
Vlade shakes his head.
Vlade: Not here.
He walks over to a couch and sits down.
The GM joins him on the couch.
GM: Our number one next year-
GM: I’m not done.
Vlade quickly recovers and plays it cool.
Vlade: Of course you’re not.
GM: We’ll also give you our starting center, who’s a bit undersized but can hold his own against almost any bigs … who aren’t DeMarcus.
Vlade: We already have six centers. Make it an oversized power forward who can occasionally slide into the five when Mr. Ranadive, I mean, Coach Joerger, wants to go small.
GM: Fair enough. And to make the deal even sweeter, I’ll throw in two expiring contracts. That way you’ve got money for this summer’s free agency bonanza.
Vlade: How about your expiring airline miles?
The GM pauses, unsure how to respond.
Vlade: My knees are still killing me from last night’s trip. If I’m going to keep making these flights, I need the extra legroom.
GM: I’ll see what I can do.
Vlade: Delta or United. Either one will do.
GM: So do we have a deal?
Vlade coolly pulls out a 7-up from his interior suit coat pocket, cracks it open and takes a long, satisfying drink.
Vlade: Perhaps. But first I need to go watch the Rising Stars Challenge. I’ll be in touch.
With that, Vlade ambles over to Smoothie King Arena and proceeds to watch Buddy Hield undress the US squad with 28 meaningless points while no defender comes within five feet of guarding him on any offensive possession. After each basket, he receives an increasingly enthusiastic text from Kings owner, Vivek Ranadive.
Hield makes a lay-up.
Hield hits an uncontested three.
Vivek: Stephen Curry 3.0!
Hield gives Pierre the Pelican a playful hug.
Vivek: R U K-dding me with that Shhhh!
The World team wins the intense, defensive battle, 150–141.
Vivek: Get. Me. Hield.
Vivek: And a selfie.
After the game, Vlade strolls into the World locker room and takes a selfie with a half-naked Buddy. It’s awkward. Instead of heading back to the hotel, Vlade lingers around while the Smoothie King staff cleans up. He makes his way into the Pelicans executive wing, specifically the office of GM Dell Demps. It’s locked. No matter. Vlade reaches up to his mouth and pulls out a hair pin, which he’s been hiding under his tongue since he left his hotel room. He casually unlocks the office door and plops down on the white Nella Vetrina couch (bonded Italian leather, very stylish). There’s a 2017 Pelicans Media Guide sitting on the table in front of him. Vlade picks it up and falls asleep reading a player profile. You can guess which one.
Dell walks into his office, sipping a piping hot Smoothie King coffee. The door is unlocked but assumes it’s just his assistant, who likes to arrive before he does and make sure everything is ready for the day. He notices the hair pin in the lock. Odd. As he continues in, he notices a rather large Yugoslavian drooling on his fine Italian conversation piece.
Vlade sits upright, shakes out the cobwebs and takes a long drink from the Monster energy drink that he has stashed in his other interior suit coat pocket. It’s a little warm but it’ll do.
Vlade: Have you heard about Boogie?
Dell: Sure. You’re signing him to a massive extension. The whole league knows.
Vlade: Yes. Of course. But maybe not of course.
Dell closes his office door.
Vlade: What would you say if I told you that circumstances had changed?
Dell looks at Vlade closely.
Dell: I’m listening.
Vlade: We would be willing to part with DeBoogie but we would need something substantial in return.
Dell: Vlade, you don’t seriously think …?
Vlade: I’m not interested in Anthony Davis. We’ve already got six perfectly tall big men.
Dell: Well, I’m not trading Jrue Holiday either.
Vlade: Is it pronounced “Drew” or “Jah-Roo”? I never know.
Dell: It’s “Drew”. But don’t worry, that trips up a lot of people.
Vlade: It’s a rather unique spelling, isn’t it?
Dell: I think we’re getting sidetracked here Vlade.
Vlade: We want your number one pick next year.
Dell: I assumed as much.
Vlade: We want Tyreke Evans back.
Dell: Is he still here? That’s interesting.
Vlade: And we want Buddy Hield.
Dell tries to stay expressionless but he can feel his eyes light up.
Dell: You’re really twisting the knife here, Vlade. He was our lottery pick last year.
Vlade: I’m aware of that.
Dell: Our advanced stats show that he’s hitting a solid 43% of his three-pointers when a defender is farther than seven feet away from him.
Vlade: I’m also aware of that.
Dell: And did you see the game he had last night? Whooo boy! Twenty-eight points and that’s against Rising Stars!
Vlade: Without Hield, there’s no deal.
Dell pulls out his phone.
Dell: Well I’m going to have to talk to Al first.
He puts the phone on speaker. Coach Alvin Gentry picks up.
Alvin: What’s up Dell?
Dell: Morning Al. Knew you’d be up.
Alvin: Already on my second cup of Smoothie King coffee.
Dell: Nothing better! Hey, I assume you’ve already started breaking down game film of Buddy’s big game last night?
Alvin: Oh definitely. That dude couldn’t hit-
Dell starts coughing and hangs up the phone. He looks at Vlade.
Dell: Weird connection.
Dell calls back.
Alvin: What was that?
Dell: Sorry, Al, I think I lost you there for a moment.
Alvin: I think you hung up on me.
Dell picks up the phone and starts speaking more slowly.
Dell: Al, I’m sitting here with Vlade Divac. He and Vivek are interested in talking to us about trading for Buddy Hield.
Alvin: Ohhhhh, wow. Gotcha. … Lottery pick, Buddy Hield?
Dell: I told him that I had to talk to you before making any decision.
Alvin: Well, who would we receive in return? I like Willie Cauley-Stein but I don’t know if he’s worth a Buddy Hield.
Dell: The Kings want to trade DeMarcus.
Through the phone, we hear Alvin coughing uncontrollably.
Alvin: I’m sorry. (Still coughing) I’m okay. (More coughing) Boogie for Buddy?
Vlade: And your number one pick!
Alvin: Got it.
Dell: So, Alvin, I just wanted to confirm that-
Alvin: I’m cool with it.
Dell: Of course, we’ll still have to figure out the particu-
Alvin: I’m good.
Dell: Great. Then we’ll let you go.
Suddenly, Vlade gets a text from Unnamed GM.
GM: So we good to go?
Vlade: Sorry, trade being “Hield” up.
Vlade starts giggling.
Vlade: Can’t write now. See you at tonight, Buddy!
Vlade giggles some more as he turns his phone off.
Vlade: Do me a favor, Dell. Let’s keep this quite until after the All-Star game tomorrow.
Vlade: I wouldn’t want to take away from Buddy’s almost-MVP weekend, you know? Vivek wants to make sure Buddy really enjoys this experience and gets a taste of what it’s like to be an All-Star.
Dell: It’s like they never say, “Rising star today. All star tomorrow.”
Vlade stops smiling and thinks for a second.
Vlade: They never do say that, do they?
For a moment, Dell worries that he may have said too much. But then Vlade breaks into a huge smile.
Vlade: But maybe after this they will!
Dell smiles broadly and extends his hand toward Vlade. They shake.
Dell: Maybe they will, Vlade. Maybe they will.
Andy Ferguson is a writer and director from New York City. He loves sports and comedy. His writing frequently features one or both of those things. You can find more of his work at www.theandyreview.com.