TWO YEARS after winning three straight championships, the Coach is out. Dismissed. At odds with the direction of the franchise. The Coach then rips the Superstar in a book.
But the Coach is rehired a year later, given a three-year, $30 million deal that makes him the highest-paid coach in sports. He forms a bond with the Superstar he had ripped.
After another lost season, however, the Superstar says in a radio interview that he wants to be traded. Then he says he doesn't want to be traded. Then he says he wants to be traded again. He is still fine with the Coach but feels that the General Manager has not done enough to build a championship-caliber team. The Owner says he will not trade the Superstar.
In the last year of his contract the Coach becomes the subject of a family squabble over his professional future. On one side is the Owner's Son, who wants him out, on the other is the Owner's Daughter, who wants him to stay (though she might be prejudiced, since she is the Coach's girlfriend).
The Superstar rips both a Teammate favored by management and the G.M. in an amateur video taken by two college-age kids in a mall parking lot.
During training camp the Owner changes his tune and says he would trade the Superstar if the right offer were to come along.
The season commences, and the team gets off to a middling start. Still, the once exiled Coach is given a two-year contract extension worth $24 million.
But as 2007 comes to an end, the franchise (hint: it rhymes with flakers) hasn't imploded. The Teammate is the starting center and has shown flashes of brilliance. The Coach is very much in charge and says he feels a "comfort level." Suggest to the Superstar or the General Manager that all of this contentment is a little peculiar, and you are met with What are you talking about? responses.
The situation doesn't have the dreadful, Fall of the House of Usher aspect that makes these such dark days in Madison Square Garden. In a way, it's kind of delightful, set as it is in a town that will take drama, intrigue and chaos over normalcy any day. And it's not over.
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