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Dear Gersson Rosas (Minnesota Timberwolves),
At least I didn’t say, “the pandemic was nothing to me.”
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Dear Bob Myers (Golden State Warriors),
Maybe I should have stayed in Australia where I would have been pandemic free. We both know you don’t deserve me. Greg Popovich had to re-learn the meaning of creative license because of Manu Ginobli. He had to add slack to the grouchy line all his players are tethered to. What is Steve Kerr going to do when I throw a baseball pass into Rihanna’s waiting arms in the front row at Staples Center? It might be the only turnover of its kind all year, but even Hercules had trials. What I mean to say is, you’ve seen Watchmen, you know you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. In other words, I’m my father’s son, but I’m not my father. How come you people never have to pay for the sins of your fathers and your fathers’ fathers? Who’s better at their chosen profession, me or Kirk Lacob? Which one of us landed on third with a golden ticket? I’m a basketball rolling stone; I’ve been all over the world, baby. They love me everywhere I go.
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Dear Bob Myers,
I been packing gymnasiums since I was in baby slims. My baby fat brought a state championship to Chino Hills. I made Lonzo’s life easier. Who do you think understands Steve Kerr’s hand-me-down-Zen-Mastery better than me. To know anything well is to communicate with its opposite, no? My father is a lit oil drum. If I wasn’t born ready I was certainly forged in the fire of his grandiosity. Lonzo didn’t learn to object, deviate, distrust. The first-born is always cut too much from the spleen of the father. The baby is always more reckless, confident, care-free. I’m spoiled; and that makes me dangerous. I don’t know how to do anything but succeed (and make it look good while I’m at it). The back-cut, the hit-ahead, a Spalding basketball as empath, as unspeaking conductor of a hive mind flow state—that’s my breakfast. I was built in a lab; the basketball we played was high on 80’s cocaine for a decade. Speed and whir. This shit is slow now, honestly. I’ve already made the pass—Haliburton, Avdija, Edwards, they haven’t even seen it yet.
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Dear Joe Lacob (Golden State Warriors),
What happens when Steph leaves—he don’t love you like that. KD was the shiny new toy that up and walked away. You’re one injury away from being the shadow king of an island of misfit toys. But you know best. You’re light-years ahead. What does my floater look like from that distance? Do my eyes twinkle? You know about marketing, I’ll make tech cool again.
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Dear MJ (Charlotte Hornets),
I know you like to sell tickets. I know you like to sell shoes. Check out my YouTube. Check my Insta. I’ll definitely be better than Adam Morrison, Frank Kaminsky, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Malik Monk, Noah Vonleh, Emaka Okafor. I’m from out west, but the youngins love me out here. I’m one with their consciousness. Snapchat should pay me. You should pay me. You really want a big in 2020? Ain’t no Barkley’s in this draft. No Olajuwon’s or Zion’s either. I know I signed with Puma, but I’ll be even better by the time this deal is up. Zion and I, we’re the future of the brand. It’s time to bet on the come, push all your chips in. You know what I’m talking about Mike, I’m the thrill you need in your life.
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Dear Arturas Karnisovas (Chicago Bulls) & Koby Altman (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Don’t blow it.
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Dear Travis Schlenk (Atlanta Hawks),
You cut your teeth in Golden State and set out to recreate that Oakland magic in the ATL. It feels like heresy to say, but maybe Klay is the rarest gem in that backcourt. Steph’s brilliance has bred copycats, imitators, duplicators, and an ash heap of never heard of hopefuls. But a versatile defensive wing, able to guard up or down and shoot better than nearly every human to ever walk the earth—maybe that’s nirvana. Maybe the answer is Steph & Steph, rather than Steph & Klay. I can take some of the pressure off Trae, get him off-ball more. How can you not plan to run and gun with two high-flying, lanky gazelles in Capela and Collins? Huerter, Hunter, and Reddish should be at home on the break as well. Trae jumps with the dunker he’s lobbed to, I bet you want to see more of that. We’ll make the East our own Drew League. 7 seconds reprised. Morey ball, but slant. Chaos is the cornerstone of my brilliance. I make magic in the frantic in-between spaces, my genius seeping through like pool blue between a squeezed hand.
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Dear Troy Weaver (Detroit Pistons),
Don’t outsmart yourself, brother.
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Dear Leon Rose (New York Knicks),
DON’T BLOW IT!
Star town. Star talent. Convince the kids of tomorrow that the Garden is exactly where they want to be, starting with me. I’ll carry Dolan’s roses. They’ll hear nothing but praise about him from me as long as he keeps signing my checks. I can’t go so far as to back the boys in blue, but I’ll quiet down those sell the team taunts.
Are we sure about this whole Tom Thibodeau thing?
* * *
To Washington, San Antonio and Sacramento,
I mean…whatever. Do what you feel.
To James Jones (Phoenix),
I want to be a part of this rise. Booker is tough. Let’s get this thing going for real. I’m the billionaire version of Ricky Rubio, send that man back to Utah or somewhere. He was just a pubescent internet sensation. I’m the real deal.
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Dear David Griffin (New Orleans Pelicans),
Trade up for me.
I’m better than Lonzo. You, me, my daddy, Zion, LiAngelo, and Lonzo know it’s true. You’ve seen the tape. Who has better handles? Whose hips are better? Whose layup package is further along? But can I defend? You only need to win by one. You want to get the best out of ‘Zo, right? You want Zion’s goliath sky-walker act to flourish and never cease. Zion is Blake Griffin 2.0, I’m some kind of Trae Young/Magic Johnson mashup. What would I look like after a summer with Fred Vinson? Have you done your homework? I shoot floaters from the three-point line. ‘Gelo has the form, ‘Zo is the athlete, I’m all skill and touch, baby. Touch is a buzz word these days. There is so little touch today, a pandemic will do that. Will make you long for a hug or a bump on an and-1. I’ve been euro-stepping doorways and trash bins. I crossed up the pooch. I’m hungry.
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Dear Danny Ainge (Boston Celtics),
I saw you getting punked by MJ in the Last Dance doc. I’ll happily pass on Boston’s cadre of belligerent pink people. Bill Simmons is practically the team mascot and he went on his little podcast and bad-mouthed me. And Russillo? Tell him to a put a name to his sources. Talk to me after I win Rookie of the Year. Y’all had goddamn Bill Russel and didn’t appreciate him—ef that, bruh. I’ll be the first person not to sign the rookie extension. I had a signature shoe and a Lamborghini before I had chin hair. What do I need your little extension money and chipotle gift cards for, Danny?