House of Lakers: What If Frank Underwood Were the Los Angeles GM?

Disclaimer: Slight spoilers. Also, Frank is Southern. Read it Southern.

♦♦♦

[Frank sits in his office.]

Secretary: Sir. LaMarcus Aldridge is here.

Underwood: Send him in.

[LaMarcus enters.]

Underwood: LaMarcus, have a seat. How’s Terry doin’? Oh, and Robin, does he still have that hair? My wife says it looks like the branches of a sycamore tree.

Aldridge: Hi, Frank. I only agreed to this because my agent owed you one. You have 10 minutes.

Underwood: All right. You’re a busy man, and I want to respect your time. Oh … drink?

Aldridge: No thanks.

Underwood: What if I told you there was a championship in store for you. Right here. Right now. All you have to do is take it.

Aldridge: I’m already in a good situation, Frank.

Underwood: That’s right. It’s a good situation. At best, you’ll be on your way to a conference finals for the next three years, remaining mildly relevant in a so-so market. But in L.A. … well,  you could be in a top-of-the-world situation — like a guppy at a water park.

Aldridge: Let’s pretend that I’m mildly interested, which I’m not. You couldn’t afford me with Kobe’s massive contract.

Underwood: Let’s just say, Kobe might be out the door soon.

Aldridge: No way.  Kobe wouldn’t walk out.

Underwood: You’re right. Kobe wouldn’t walk … out.

Aldridge: This is making me uneasy, and I need to head back. Thanks but no thanks for me.

[LaMarcus begins to walk away.]

Underwood: See you in New Orleans.

[LaMarcus turns.]

Aldridge: New Orleans?

Underwood: A little bird told me you might be on your way to the Big Easy.

Aldridge: Right.

Underwood: I’m being serious. Now, I could get in real trouble for this, but I hear Portland wants Anthony Davis and would send anything to get him. That includes you, LaMarcus. I’m just trying to be your friend here.

Aldridge: Whatever, Frank.

[LaMarcus leaves.]

Underwood [to camera]: LaMarcus thinks he’s got it made in the shade with raspberry lemonade on his cute little team. But this boy is living in the desert and that shade is about to turn into a frozen coffin. God bless America.

♦♦♦

[Frank picks up the phone. It’s Flip Saunders.]

Underwood: Hey, Flip … You know, I was just thinking about you, and I thought I’d say hello. Say, how’s Kevin Love doing? Ha ha. No … I know we don’t have anything to offer for him. We just spent some time together in Charleston and I wanted to check in on my new friend. You tell Kevin I called, OK? Take care.

♦♦♦

Secretary: Sir, Dell Demps is here.

Underwood: You know what to do.

[Demps enters.]

Underwood: Dell. Nice to see you.

Demps: Frank.

Underwood: Look, we’ve never seen eye-to-eye on much, so I’m just going to cut to the chase here. I heard through the grapevine that LaMarcus Aldridge had such a great time at the All-Star Game that he’s looking to make a move to New Orleans … permanently.

Demps: Ha. You called me in for that? Good-bye, Frank.

Underwood: Wait, wait. Now, I’m serious here.

Demps: Go to hell, Frank.

Underwood: Now, you listen to me …

Demps: NO, YOU LISTEN TO ME. Stop the lies, Frank. Or I’ll make sure every GM in the league knows what kind of prick you really are. Now you step away.

[Heavy/angry breathing.]

Underwood: Fine … At least have the decency to shake my hand like a man before you leave.

[Dell goes in for a shake. Frank grabs Dell's hand and forces it on his own crotch.]

Demps: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!

[Aggressively pulls away.]

Underwood: What are YOU doing, Dell?  You just tried to molest me.

Demps: That’s preposterous!

Underwood: Is it? I already told my publicist and she has an email draft ready to send at a moment’s notice. My secretary thinks that’s why I called you in here.

Demps: You’re crazy!

Underwood: Oh, you have no idea. GET OFF ME, DELL! STOP IT! PLEASE!

Demps: Enough!

Underwood: You call LaMarcus right now. Ask him how he liked New Orleans during All-Star. You do it now and we forget this whole thing.

[Demps grabs his cell phone.]

Demps: Hello? Hey, LaMarcus. This is Dell Demps. I was just wondering how you … how you liked New Orleans. Yeah? That’s great to hear. All right, talk to you soon. See ya.

Underwood: See, that wasn’t so hard now, was it?

[Dell storms out.]

Underwood [to camera]: You think that I’m going to follow the rules of the CBA? No. People like Dell follow the CBA and Dell is like a pickle in a punkin’ store. He does not belong. Let freedom ring.

[Phone rings. Frank picks up.]

Underwood: LaMarcus. How are you? Well … see, I told you it was New Orleans … I know. Calm down … Tell you what. You get your agent to contact ESPN. Say that you want to come to L.A. and I’ll let them know we’re interested too. Even if you don’t come here, it will startle Portland and they will offer you whatever you want to stay. Now I’m really sticking my neck out there for you, LaMarcus … You’re a dear friend. We’ll talk soon.

[Hangs up the phone and sends a text. Pours himself a drink and waits.]

[Twenty minutes later the phone rings.]

Underwood: Mr. Kevin Love. How are ya? OK, OK. I’ll turn on ESPN right now.

[Chris Broussard and Rachel Maddow debate trade talks between LaMarcus Aldridge and the Lakers.]

I’m afraid it is true, Kevin … Now, hold on. I’ve tried to talk to Flip but he wouldn’t budge … Of course I still think you’re the best power forward in the league … In an ideal world, but other teams are gunnin’ for ya and frankly, I don’t have the assets to secure you right now. I don’t know what to do either, besides you demanding a trade to Los Angeles. My hands are tied … Kevin. I hate to do this to you, but LaMarcus is on the other line. We’ll talk soon.

[Hangs up.]

Underwood [to camera]: A fool, pickin’ peaches from a rib bone. Glory, glory hallelujah.

Underwood Lakers

♦♦♦

Secretary: Adrian Wojnarowski is here.

Underwood: Go ahead.

[Woj enters.]

Woj: I know what you’re doing, Frank. All the lies and the dirty play.

Underwood: What are you saying?

Woj: I just can’t be a part of someone’s …

Underwood: Finish your thought.

Woj: Someone’s crappy trade.

[Frank pushes Woj out the window.]

Underwood [to audience]: Oh, don’t worry about Woj. He was a kitty cat, meowing like a glass of sweet tea at a bonfire on Tybee Island. Oh say can you … die.

♦♦♦

Frank and Flip

Saunders: Frank! Oh thank god. I don’t know what to do. Kevin wants out now. He wants to go to L.A., and he won’t take no for an answer. He said he’d fake an injury and sign somewhere else when he’s a free agent. We’ll lose everything if we don’t trade him. Oh god.

[Begins to cry.]

Underwood: There there.

Saunders: What do I do?

Underwood: Look, I respect you, Flip, but Kevin just seems like too big of a headache now and we really have our hearts set on LaMarcus.

Saunders: Please! I’m begging you, damn it!

Underwood: Fine. I’ll help you out, because we’re friends. We don’t have much to offer though.

Saunders: Come on. We can figure SOMETHING out. I can’t go back with nothing. I can’t!

Underwood: I know. Look, Pau’s been working out a lot and he looks better than I’ve seen him in years.

Saunders: Really?

Underwood: Hand to God.  And … oh I don’t know if I can let him go.

Saunders: Who??!

Underwood: Well … Xavier Henry has been playing spectacularly for us and …

Saunders: Please!

Underwood: Well, all right. I’ll give you Xavier with Pau for Kevin Love.

Saunders: Oh god. Thank you, Frank! Thank you!!!!

Underwood: Of course. You should have your people send the paper work immediately. Having a cancer like Kevin in your locker room will be toxic.

Saunders: OK …

[Sends text.]

Saunders: On its way. Thank you so much, Frank.

Underwood: Anything you need … You know who to call for help, OK?

[Frank kisses Flip on the forehead.]

[Secretary brings in paperwork.]

Underwood: Flip, I’m not sure I can bail you out again, so really do your best with my guys, OK?

Flip: Of course.

[Both men sign.]

Flip: It’s done. You’re a great man. I owe you everything, Frank.

Underwood: Please, don’t mention it.

[Flip leaves.]

Underwood (to the camera): Flip Saunders. He couldn’t keep up if up was tied to his person. Meanwhile, I’m like a wet dog on a Louisiana rub ‘n’ tug — so close I can practically feel it. My country tis of thee … and only thee.

Filed Under: NBA, Los Angeles Lakers, House of Cards

Jason Gallagher is the founder of Ballerball.com and the cowriter of The Lockout: A Musical.

Archive @ jga41agher