A Satircal Oral History of The 2015 Sixers-Kings Trade

Has this season gone according to Sam Hinkie's plan. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Has this season gone according to Sam Hinkie's plan. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

An exhaustively researched hypothesis on the (fake) sequence of events that led to the (nearly) historic trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Sacramento Kings of Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, an unprotected first round pick, and two first round pick swaps in exchange for the rights to Arturas Gudaitis, Luka Mitrovic and a future second round pick.

Sacramento, California.  The executive offices of the Sacramento Kings.

Vivek Ranadive  is busily working at a laptop where streams of code cover the screen.  Several front office staff sit around a conference table listening closely to Vlade Divac who stands, towering over a white board .  The board has a large bubble in the center with the name ‘Boogie’ and several other bubbles surrounding it, all with names with question marks after them.  Some of the bubbles have names that are crossed out.  A few arrows point to and fro among the names around the board.  To the right of the diagram is a list that says – Guards -> Playoffs!

M. Ellis

W. Matthews

R. Rondo

Guards –> Playoffs!

M. Ellis

W. Mathews

R. Rondo

Vlade concludes – “and we project that this structure should take us deep into the playoffs, with an excellent shot at the Championship over the next 3-5 years.  I need some suggestions on how to clear cap space to bring them on.”   Their are murmurs of approval and a smattering of applause from the assembled staff.

A hand is raised in the back of the room, and an intern meekly suggests “I believe that the Philadelphia 76ers have some cap space.  They have indicated a willingness to take on some salary.”  Vlade nods, and muses out loud – “They will probably want a second round pick or two.  Who do we think we can get them to take?”  The staff turn their attention to the white board again, looking thoughtful.

South Philadelphia, PA. 76ers’ GM Sam Hinkie’s office.  

Sam, wearing a full suit and tie is doing squats with an oversized Philadelphia 76ers emblazoned medicine ball on his shoulders.  A copy of the Baupost Group’s annual letter sits open nearby, with notes scribbled in the margin.  A chess board sits in the middle of the desk.  The computer on the desk beeps and an instant message from ‘Gary the K’ pops up on the screen.  It reads simply ‘Bishop-B4’.  With the heavy ball weighing on his shoulders, Sam strides to the computer and glances at the screen.  He looks down at the board, moves the black bishop and then contemplates the board further.  

Marlene Barnes enters and says – “Sam – Vlade Divac on line 2 for you.”  A slow smile crosses Sam’s face.  Sam moves a piece and types Bishop x H7+.

76ers /

There is a deep thud as Sam shrugs the ball off of his shoulders, letting it fall to the floor, and the trophy case outside the office can be heard rattling.  Sam walks to a bookcase in the corner of the room, selects a large 3 ring binder labeled “Sacramento” and opens it.  “Thanks Marlene.  Put him through please.”


Vlade hangs up the phone.  He gives the intern, who has moved from the back row to a seat at the conference table a nod, and says “I think we can make something happen.  The 76ers are willing to talk, but it will take more than a couple second rounders.  They have always had an interest in Nik Stauskas….”  Vivek’s head pops up from writing code, and he looks around the room.  “Stauskas?…….   Stauskas?”  His gaze returns to his laptop.

Vlade continues “Perhaps including him with some picks along with the veterans will get it done.”   He returns to the white board and circles the names Stauskas, Landry and Thompson in red.   He glances at the staff around the table – “what does that clear for us?”  The intern consults a sheet of papers and responds “Just under $16 million for this year.”

“We can avoid taking any salary back by asking for some of Hinkie’s assets who are parked overseas, then we can keep all of that space free.  We can probably get that Croatian Turkey.  What was his name?”  Another staffer speaks up – “Things are evolving quickly.  I hear that Cuban is interested in Matthews and Bird likes Ellis.

We have to know what we can do if we want a seat at the table.”  Vivek’s head pops up again, a grim look on his face.  He shakes his head and mutters “Cuban?  One damn Victoria’s Secret Fashion show and the guy is a star.  Never worked a day in his life….”  He trails off, then looks at Vlade “Wes rocks.  Lets get this done”.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /


A few moves have been made on the chess board.  Two young sales reps struggle to roll the medicine ball to the corner before exiting the office.  Sachin Gupta sits across the desk, a laptop perched on his legs.  He is switching back and forth between multiple spreadsheets.  A cell phone sits on the desk in front of him.  He tells Sam “Matthews is going to Dallas, and Ellis to Indiana.  Its basically done already.  I think they are going to walk away”

Sam types “Knight x G5+. ” in the instant message window.  The intercom buzzes and Marlene can be heard.  “Vlade on 2”   Sachin looks up, a curious expression on his face.  Sam glances at him, puts a finger over his lips and hits the speaker phone button.  “Vlade, that was quick.  You must have something on the front burner…..”


More from Philadelphia 76ers

The intern sits directly to Vlade’s right.  Some staff members have left.  Cheering can be heard outside the window.  Vivek walks over, and opens the drapes to wave at the crowd.  Vlade says “Vivek, they’re not here for you.  “Weird Al” Yankovic is visiting the team today”  Vivek looks around, then closes the drape and returns to the table.  Vlade continues, “The structure is in place.  The 76ers and Hinkie will take Landry and Thompson outright.  He will give us some of his European assets so there won’t be any salary coming back.”

All that is left to discuss is compensation.  He says second rounders won’t get it done and Saric is off the table.  Keeps calling him his ‘Homie’.   He sounds lukewarm on Stauskas, he is happy to do the deal without him.  I think that after his performance this year it is more of a flyer for him – described as as nominal compensation and talked about all the salary he comes with.  Its not enough to close the deal.”

“So what will it take?” asks Vivek, before firing a dart at a photo of Mark Cuban hung on the wall.

“For the 76ers to take on Landry, Thompson and Stauskas, it has to be a first” replies Vlade.

The intern speaks up.  “Well, with the trade in place with Chicago – they get our first the next time it falls outside the top 10 – most likely next year.  With the Stepien rule, the 76ers won’t get our pick until 2018, or possibly ’19.  Our analysis suggests that we will be deep in the playoffs, very likely in the Championship game by then, so we forecast a pick in the 25-30 range.”

Vivek  chimes in –

“A borderline second rounder, 3 years from now?  Do you really think they will go for that?”

“A borderline second rounder, 3 years from now?  Do you really think they will go for that?”

“I’m not sure.  He’s a strange cat.  Who knows what he is thinking?  He keeps trading for second rounders far in the future.  Let me see if I can sell it.” responds Vlade.

“Its 4th and 15 and we’re looking at a full court press” answers Vivek.  “We can’t rest until this deal is done.”  He picks up the phone – “Jill, please send in some sandwiches.  We need a bite to eat.”


Sachin is sitting on the floor of a data center with his laptop plugged directly into a bank of computers.  He is wrapped in a fleece and huddled against the cold.  The screen reads “Compiling”.  It beeps and the screen updates to “Analysis Valid”.  He celebrates briefly, and stands up to make the short walk to Sam’s office.  He enters and sees Sam sitting  in a desk chair, stroking a strange, hairless cat, peering through a monocle at the chess board.

There are only a few pieces left on the board.  He moves his Queen then types ‘Q-H7+’ into the computer.  Only then does he look up at Sachin, who simply gives him a thumbs up.  Sam’s eyebrow goes up, and his monocle pops out, falling onto the the cat on his lap, startling him so he jumps away mewling.  Sam looks straight at Sachin and says “You are a steely eyed missile man Sachin”.  The intercom buzzes, and Marlene simply says “Vlade”.

Sam picks up the phone and says “Vlade… Hi.  I think we are close.  That pick isn’t coming for a while.  Ha, you’ll probably be playing in the Championship before it comes over for all I know.”  Sachin smiles.

Vlade grunts on the other end of the line and starts stumbling over his words.  Sam interrupts with just a hint of a smile apparent  “I may need just a small sweetener so I can sell it to the board.  How do you feel about a ‘pick swap’?”


“Pick swap??” says Vivek.  “They want to trade back in the first round?”

The intern, sitting immediately to Vlade’s right, chimes in enthusiastically – “No, we only switch places with them if our record is WORSE than theirs.  Most likely it means that nothing will happen”

“Yep, That’s the size of it” responds Vlade.

The intern speaks up again. “They have 3 centers, one who is injured, a few d-leaguers, plus our players after the deal.  There hasn’t been a word about them being active in the free agent market.  The team is an embarrassment to the league.  With Karl leading our team, McLemore bombing 3’s, Boogie holding down the middle, Matthews running point and Rudy Gay helping out on the boards, there is a 50/50 chance it doesn’t mean anything at all.  Although there is only a 10% chance of that.  

“there is a 50/50 chance chance it will happen, although there’s only a 10% chance of that.”

Vivek and Vlade glance at each other for a brief moment, looking puzzled, then return to the subject at hand.  “Ha.” says Vivek. “Maybe we should offer them two to get this across the finish line today.”

“Actually….” says Vlade.

Vivek rolls his eyes.  “Fine” he says.  “Just get Matthews’ agent on the line.”

Philadelphia. 76ers’ office.

Sam is speaking into the speaker phone.  “And while I don’t expect it to be delivered until ’18 or more likely ’19, it’s an unprotected first.  If they don’t trade Cousins to Boston first, he will be a free agent.  Our analysis is based on game theory.  The Prisoners Dilemma specifically – we think it’s very likely he heads south to LA.  We called in a couple favors with NASA to get some mainframe time, and the computer indicates there is an 86.3% probability this will be a lottery pick in 2019.”

“Wait, what?” says the voice over the phone.  “So how much does this take our payroll to?”

“We will still be below the salary floor sir.”

“And who are we giving up?  ChuChu Maduabum and someone?”

“No sir.  No one that high profile.  We are giving up Gudaitis and Mitrovic.  The 47th and 60th picks in this years draft.”

“So two players and two picks.  Hmm.  Sounds okay.”

“No sir.  Those two picks are those two players..”

“Wait, what?”

Sam glances back at the chess board, slides the queen across the board.  He leans over to the computer and types Queen-F7++.

“Good game.  That was beautiful.  What was that sacrifice called?” is the response in the chat window.

“The Greek gift” types Hinkie.

“What do you think Brett will say?  He wasn’t too happy about the MCW deal?” asks the voice over the intercom.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

“All indications are that he will be okay with  this turn of events.”

“Wow” says the voice on the intercom.  “That is some deal Sam.  Well done, yet again.  I have every confidence that this turnaround is really going to take off this year.  Let’s plan to talk about that 8 year extension in January.”

“Thank you sir.  While the quote is mistakenly attributed to Seneca the Younger, you have often heard me say that I do believe that ‘luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’  I’m going to just keep executing The Process”

“You sure do talk funny Sam.  But keep it up.”


Vlade claps the intern on the back and smiles.  “Well done Son.  We dumped the salary and it looks like it might only cost us a late 20s pick, years from now.  Matthews and Ellis are both scheduled to visit next week.  Very creative thinking.  You did a very, very good job.  We are well on the path towards and NBA Championship!”

“Either that, or we’re all wrong.  We’ll know that in two years.”

Next: Luwawu Must Step Up

With both thanks and apologies to:

The Chess World

The Naked Gun

Atlas Shrugged


James Bond/Austin Powers Film Series

The Martian