Adam Silver didn't take many moments to reflect, so he took them whenever he had the opportunity. The new Commissioner of the NBA had successfully dealt with a racist owner and the NBA was coming off a very exciting playoffs. The league was expanding, and free agency was sure to be a hit with lots of superstars potentially on the move. Silver was basking in these triumphs when a call came in.
Silver picked up the phone on his desk, but all he heard was a dial tone. Still, the ringing continued. It took Silver a couple of seconds to realize that the call was coming from the red emergency phone in the corner of the room. Only one man had that phone number. Silver took a deep breath and picked up the receiver.
"Yes, Mr. Stern?"
Silver hadn't been expecting this call. His predecessor had given him one mandate when he left office: screw over Daryl Morey and the Rockets. Silver had done just that, handing Portland two playoff games with calls that the league "apologized" for the next day. Of course, Silver had conferenced in Stern when he wrote the press releases. The two had bonded over their laughter and Silver had almost felt like Stern was treating him as an equal. If the Rockets were the team he had to run over in the process, so be it. Silver thought this might be a congratulatory call.
He was wrong.
The voice on the other line breathed in heavily. Stern knew how to get his point across quickly and ruthlessly.
"Adam, we've got a problem," the voice from the other line said.
"We do?" Silver asked, confused.
"Of course. Last year, I was able to screw over the Rockets against OKC three times. Twice they were on a back-to-back when the Thunder weren't and once they had a day off but OKC had 2. Of course, Houston went 0-3 in those games. Do you remember what happened in the fourth game, Adam?"
Adam did. It was his greatest failure. When he had come up with the 2013-2014 schedule, he had done everything in his power to make the last game a back-to-back for Houston. However, due to travel issues and other conflicts, Houston had gotten a day off before the game. Worse, OKC had to be on a back-to-back. Stern had not been pleased, and the contractors were still trying to figure out how much it would cost to fix all the damage Stern had caused to his office when he had found out.
Silver knew what was coming, and he braced for it.
"Adam, I know you tried your best, but it happens. You can make it up to me in free agency. I hear Daryl is looking at Chris Bosh. Do you realize how good Houston could be with him?" Stern asked.
"They would be good, but nothing a little fix couldn't...fix," Silver finished lamely.
"I don't want a fix! I want Daryl to cry like the bitch he is!" Stern spat.
Silver had to stop him. "Okay, I can convince Riley that Bosh needs a max contract, even if LeBron leaves."
There was a pause. Then...
"Good, good. Do that. But there's another issue. Chandler Parsons almost beat the Blazers with that layup in game 6 and-"
"But he blew the assignment on (Voldemort's true name)'s winner!"
"DON'T INTERRUPT ME ADAM! NEVER AGAIN!"
"Yes, sir," Silver said, practically sobbing.
"AS I WAS SAYING, Parsons almost ruined everything. Eliminate him."
"You mean, like, kill him?" Adam asked with trepidation.
"No you fool! I have it on good authority that Houston is going to let him out of his contract. We need to punish them for thinking that he's in their pocket. Call Mark. He'll give Parsons an impossible contract for Daryl to match. If he needs the money, give it to him. We've got a fund for this. It's called 'Basketball Reasons.'"
"Okay, Mr. Stern. I'll handle that too."
"Yes, Mr. Stern?"
"I need one more thing."
"I've already taken care of it."
Tonight, the Houston Rockets take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Houston is on a back-to-back, having to fly in from Orlando after their loss last night.
Oklahoma City has had five days off.
It's the most obvious schedule loss in the history of the NBA.
Somewhere, David Stern is smiling.
Tip-off is at 7pm CST on TNT.
Thunder vs Rockets coverage
Programming note: I'm taking a week off from writing previews to study for my shelf exam. Max will be handling the next 3 previews (GS, Pacers, then GS again) and Allen is taking the Phoenix game for next week. Please be nice to them since it's impossible for everyone to be as awesome as I am. In all seriousness, I'm sure they will write some great stuff and I half-expect you to want me to never write again after they're done. I've already thanked them in emails, but I'll make it more Internet official and say thanks again Max and Allen!