Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Plot Revealed: Joe Smith, Secret Agent

Throughout the course of human history, there have been many conspiracies. The JFK Assassination. Area 51. The Knicks getting the Patrick Ewing lottery pick. But after months weeks days hours minutes of research, we've finally uncovered the greatest conspiracy to ever level the NBA.

Joe Smith is a secret agent.

I know. It's hard to hear. This is a man beloved by millions thousands hundreds dozens of fans. These charges are disastrous for a man that is a legend in American culture. A hero to the people, to the working man. He is truly one of the greatest athletes of our time. And yet, it's clear, now, after our extensive research, that he is a secret agent.

Our suspicions were raised after this Big Lead article. They quickly raised the issue, and dismissed it as nonsense. And that's where we come in. Here's what they had to say.

I’ve spent the last 5 minutes (may be an exaggeration) comparing the Bulls’ rosters from this season and last season and they are eerily similar. The only difference is Joe Smith and the rookies - and I’m not going to be the one to put the blame on a 15-year veteran for such a massive collapse and change in team chemistry.
The Cousins of Ron Mexico goes on to possibly point the blame at Joakim Noah. Unless Noah is the seventh son born under the sixth sign, we knew Noah ain't it. But what of that quote? What is the only real change between last year's squad and this year's? Who's getting significant minutes, despite the plethora (a la pinatas) of young power forwards? That's right. The 13-Year Veteran.

The guy who's 5th in points and 3rd in rebounds, while only 6th in minutes. Oh yes, it looks like he's the only guy really earning his paycheck, doesn't it? It certainly looks like Joe Smith has been the bright spot on an underachieving, terrible team.

And yet.

Do rookies and second year players really have that much impact? Especially ones who are averaging a combined 18:46 in playing time? Or instead, is there something more sinister.

Here's what we believe happened, according to our vaunted sources irrational conjecture.

Sometime in early July of 2007, Commissioner Stern was notified of the impending indictment of Tim Donaghy, and the scandal that would rock the league office. This scandal would consume the news cycle, bringing constant criticism of Stern's league which was already seen in a negative light throughout some media circles. The commissioner could stand the criticisms of his athletes as thugs, the perception that the athletes don't give their all, the bloated contracts and low television ratings. But an accusation of cheating on his watch would ruin an otherwise brilliant legacy. Something had to be done to one-up this story.

He needed something exciting. He needed something that would garner extensive media coverage. He needed something huge.

He needed the Boston Celtics to acquire Kevin Garnett and win a championship.

And so, in the second week of July, he called together a group of advisers to formulate a plan to ensure the Celtics a clear path to glory. The first were a series of calls to Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge, which went quite smoothly. The next part of the plan, however, was to make sure there would be no teams that could derail the Celtics' path to the championship. The Magic, Wizards, and Cavs were estimated to be no match for the Three Amigos, but Detroit and Chicago did not present favorable matchups. League intervention could only extend so far, however, and Joe Dumars' shrewd maneuvers presented too much of a risk to try and penetrate. But if Chicago could be derailed, that would improve the Celtics' chances greatly.

The decision was made by Stern to enlist an agency he had not used in many years. This group was shrouded in secrecy, and had existed since the inception of the league. It consisted of a series of players, selected based on their combination of talent and bland character. They were secret agents. They were referred to only in hushed tones, and then, only by the title... the Travelers.

The Travelers consisted of players specifically selected for their rare combination of mid-level bench talent, and anonymity. No matter how they had performed, the rare 30 point explosion, an excellent contract year, they remained a player only the team's fans were truly aware of. They were selected for these reasons, because their purpose was simple. To submarine a team's chances of greatness, through imperceptible shifts of team chemistry. They were sent to obtain a mid level, one-year contracts. They needed to be veterans, on the back ends of their career. After careful deliberation, the Travelers decided to initiate a new member, specifically to derail the Bulls. It was established that a power-forward was necessary, in order to 1. mask his identity, and 2. to keep down both Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah.

Joe Smith was chosen for membership.

The contact came through a friend of his agent, advising him of a business opportunity, that they wanted to meet Mr. Smith alone for an interview. The meeting was held at a local Arby's. Smith was curious as to the meeting arrangements, but decided to attend regardless, at the behest of a strangely reassuring call from a retired, as yet unnamed player friend. At the Arby's, he was met by a courier, who handed him only a briefcase, outlying the parameters of the arrangement, and an upfront payment. Further details, including the amount of payment are unknown at this time.

At this point, Mr. Smith contacted officials in Chicago for the Bulls and offered his services. He was more than willing to take a one year contract for $5 Million, making no insistence of a multi-year contract. The contract was signed on July 13th. On July 31st, Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics.

From there, Smith, or "Agent Smith" as he is referred to in vague Traveler references, then took to completing his mission. Through a series of subtle maneuvers, he managed to usurp the starting power forward position. Then, in each game, managing to contribute solid statistical performances, while creating key failures on both sides of the ball, without being identifiable as the source of the breakdown. He also served to instigate trouble within the locker room, painting Joakim Noah as a problem child, and subtlely suggesting a players' meeting to discipline Noah.

We don't know what will happen to us, now that this information has been revealed, but the world needs to know.

Joe Smith must be stopped.

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