A transcript of Evan Turner's drive to the airport with Sam Hinkie

A transcript of Evan Turner's drive to the airport with Sam Hinkie

Reports this weekend from Evan Turner's return trip to Philly with the Indiana Pacers revealed that Turner had driven to the airport with Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, the man who had just traded Evan from the only NBA franchise he'd ever played for. Thanks to bugging equipment the 700 Level had long ago installed in Hinkie's Honda Civic for just such an occasion, we were able to get exclusive tape of the conversation that took place on their car ride. Here is the transcript of that conversation.

Sam Hinkie: So Evan, have you ever been to Indiana before?

Evan Turner: Well, yeah, we play there a couple times a season, and we used to play Indiana a bunch when I was at Ohio State...

Hinkie: Right, yeah, of course. What I meant was, have you ever really spent much time there, gotten to really know the place?

Evan: Uhhh, no, not really I guess.

Hinkie: Well I think you're gonna love it. It's beautiful there, especially during the spring time. And they have great fast food--you're a fast food guy, right?

Evan: Uhhh, yeah, sure, I guess...

Hinkie: Well they have these drive-in restaurants there. You ever been to a drive-in restaurant, like in American Graffiti? You just drive up and they take your order straight from your car, and then they bring it out to you on a tray, your burger and fries and soda, all while you're still in the car. You just eat it right there. It's great, especially on a sunny spring day. And they love their basketball there. You ever seen the movie Hoosiers?

Evan: Yeah man, of course, everybody's seen that movie.

Hinkie: There you go. Not to badmouth the Philly fans--and please don't tell anyone I said this, haha--but it's just a different type of fan out there. They just love the sport, in all its incarnations out there. It's pure. They're gonna love you there, too, the way you play. I just know it.

Evan: Thanks, man.

The conversation is silent for a few minutes, before Evan asks if he can turn on the radio. Sam says sure, and Evan flips a couple times through Hinkie's presets, mumbling something about him not being able to find a hip-hop station. Finally, he settles on an oldies station playing a Smokey Robinson song. The conversation is silent again for another couple minutes.

Evan: So, uh, Mr. Hinkie, could I ask you a question?

Hinkie: Sure, Evan. And I've told you before, please call me Sam.

Evan: OK, Sam. So, like...I'm not surprised that you traded me. I've been in trade rumors for as long as I can remember, since my rookie year, it feels like. I'd learned to not pay much attention to them, but this time, I could feel it was different, you know? The team was losing so much, and you guys had just traded Jrue, and he was an All-Star last year, so I knew you guys were rebuilding and that nobody on the team was safe. I get it, really.

Hinkie: Thanks, Evan. I'm glad you're able to see it that way. What's your question, then?

Evan: Well...was Danny Granger and a draft pick--a second-rounder--really the best offer you got for me?

Hinkie: What do you mean?

Evan: I mean, that's not that much to get back for me, man. I'm only 25. I was averaging 18 points a game, grabbing six rebounds, four assists. I'm getting better every season. Guys like me, teams should be going out of their way to try to get so they could build around us, but you gave me and Lavoy up to Indiana for next to nothing.

Hinkie: Well, second-round picks are very valuable these days. They don't count against the salary cap and some of the upcoming drafts might go two rounds deep with NBA talent.

Evan: Yeah, but that pick's gonna be what, in the 50s?

Hinkie: Well...not definitely, but it's possible.

Evan: In the 50s! Man, I was the #2 overall pick four years ago! You think you can replace my production with a #52 pick?

Hinkie: No, probably not, but having the pick allows to do various other things, too. We can use it in a trade to move up in the first round, or as part of a larger trade that gets us another valuable rotation guy. And we're also getting back Danny Granger. Don't forget that Danny was an All-Star a couple seasons ago.

Evan: Yeah, but Sam, is he even gonna play for you guys?

Hinkie: Well, we're going to sit down with him and have a conversation, and find out where...

Evan: C'mon, man, don't give me that B.S.! You know goddamn well you're gonna buy him out first chance you get, so you don't have to worry about giving him minutes that could be going to some scrub you're gonna call up from the D-League or Europe or whatever who costs you like two bucks and who ain't gonna be on the team a month later. You forget I just spent over half a season on this crappy team you put together? You think I haven't figured out how it works? Don't treat me like I'm a damn blogger talking to you right now!

Hinkie: OK, Evan, calm down. Look, you're probably right--chances are, he's not gonna play for us. He's too old to want to play on a rebuilding team, so he's gonna want to get bought out, and we doubt he can really do that much for us this season anyway. He'd just be a distraction.

Evan: All right, so then why'd you trade me for him?

Hinkie: I'm sorry, Evan, it's just the realities of the trade market. We wanted to trade you for a first-rounder, but fact of the matter is, nobody's offering first-rounders mid-season these days. Your contract makes you a difficult player to trade for, since you're a free agent at the end of the season, and most people think you're going to ask for a lot of money in the offseason.

Evan: But I've earned it! Haven't I earned it? You see guys getting these extensions, ten million, twelve million a year, and they haven't averaged 18 points a game! They haven't been to the playoffs twice! They haven't done what I've done in this league! I've put in the work, I've done what I had to do. Why shouldn't it be my turn to get paid?

Hinkie: Look, Evan, I don't disagree with you. I think you're a very talented young player. But the truth of the matter is, you weren't in our long-term plans. Really, nobody that was on this team before I got here is--the old administration put us so far behind that we're basically trying to start from scratch. Michael and Nerlens, we hope they'll be part of our future, but we don't even know that for sure yet. We're taking it one step at a time, but we need a clean slate before we can truly start over.

Evan: OK, yeah, I sort of get that, I guess. But didn't anybody else want to take a chance on me? There's 29 other teams out there, I gotta sign with one of them eventually!

Hinkie: Of course you do. But what I think you need to understand, Evan, is that your style of game makes you a hard player to fit around sometimes. You take a lot of shots, but you don't make a very high percentage of them. You get a lot of assists, but you get nearly as many turnovers. You defend twos better than you defend threes, but you don't make enough three-pointers to play you at the two. It's hard to know where you fit in a starting lineup, and you've made it clear you feel like you don't deserve to come off the bench.

Evan: Well, yeah, man, I get buckets! I can get a bucket whenever I want to, man, always have. You guys all worry so much about "Is he a two, is he a three?" Dude, it's just basketball! Let me get out there and play, it don't matter what position they got me in on the scorecard or whatever!

Hinkie: OK, well that's fine when you're at Ohio State and the entire offense is built around you. But in the NBA, you're gonna be going to teams that already have guys like that, where they need you to come in and play a supporting role, to do the little things that help make a good team a great team.

Evan: I can do those things, too. Man, don't you see the box scores at the end of games, the numbers I put up?

Hinkie: Yes, but it's not always about those things. Sometimes it's about making the correct defensive rotation, or about hustling back in transition, or about just standing behind the three point line and making enough shots out there that a defender has to stay with you, opening up space for the rest of your team to work with. And if we're being honest here, I don't think you've always done that sort of thing with consistency.

Evan: I try, man. You know Sam, everyone thinks they know me, know my game, what I do or don't do or whatever. But they don't know what it's like to have the offensive load on my shoulders every night. To get fouled while shooting like I do but not got the respect from the refs for a whistle. They don't know what it's like to be on a team this bad, hell, I didn't even know until the last few years. It's hard to do all the little things when we ain't got enough of so many of the big things.

Hinkie: I think you're right, Evan, to an extent. And I do feel bad for you having to play on a team that loses so much, and I do think you get more criticism from some people than you probably deserve. But I think there also comes a point in your career when you've got to get past all that, even past the losing, and lead by example. You've gotta be the guy who gets back on defense, who doesn't complain to the refs, who goes hard on every possession and doesn't bail out defenses with bad shots. That's what the great ones--the Kobes, the LeBrons, the Durants--all do, and they do it every night. If you wanna be great, that's what you have to do too.

Evan: Look, I know I'm not a perfect player. But I'm still young. I'm still improving, working hard every off-season. I know there's another level I gotta get to, and I still wanna get to it. I'm gonna get there, Sam, I know I will. I've gotten there my whole life.

Hinkie: I don't doubt that you will, Evan.

Evan: So then why trade me at all, man? You couldn't get squat for me, whatever, you didn't want to re-sign me in the offseason, whatever. Why not just keep me for the rest of the year? Don't you care about winning games at all? We lost our last ten, man, how you think we're gonna do now that Spence and Lavoy and I are gone? Did I mean that little to you as a player?

Hinkie: Of course not. You might not believe me, Evan, but I really do think you're a good player, and I know you would help us win more games. Hell, I've seen it with my own two eyes. I saw what you did against LeBron the first night of the season. I saw you hit that game-winner in Boston. I saw you play your heart out against the Knicks in New York. I'm a fan of yours, Evan, and I'm gonna miss having you as a Sixer. But I don't think you need me to tell you that it's not about that for us right now. It's about the future We know we can't afford you in the offseason, so we don't want to wait until then to part ways with you, when it's possible we could get a player on our roster right now who might still be able to help us, and we might be able to resign in the offseason. I'm sorry we couldn't get more for you--and believe me, I tried--but like I said, that's where the league is at right now. You didn't see a lot of other guys getting traded for much of anything this deadline, did you?

Evan: No...not really.

Hinkie: OK, so...would you really have wanted to finish out the season on a losing team? Don't you miss playing meaningful basketball? Wouldn't you rather have a chance not just to go to the playoffs, but to maybe even win the title? Do you know how many really good players have gone their careers without ever even getting that chance?

Evan: Well, yeah, of course. I'm all about winning, that's all I've ever been about.

Hinkie: So then why are you looking at this in such a negative way? This should be the opportunity you've dreamed of since you got in the NBA!

Evan: I dunno, man. I just didn't think it'd be so cold, I guess. I thought I could leave with a little dignity.

Hinkie: Evan, you have nothing to be ashamed of here. You've been a great Sixer, and now we're rewarding you with the chance to play for a team that's much farther along than we are right now, than we'll likely be for years to come. We could have traded you to Sacramento, to Charlotte, but instead you're going to Indiana. Back to Big Ten country! You should be excited.

Evan: I guess, man.

The conversation goes silent again for the remainder of the car ride. The tape ends with the car stopping at the airport, and the two men sharing a brief goodbye.

Hinkie: Well, this is it, Evan. Best of luck in Indiana, and if all goes right, hopefully we'll see you in the playoffs in a couple years' time.

Evan: Yeah, Sam, see you there. Next time you see Tony, tell him not to shoot so many damn threes, will you? He never listens to me when I tell him, but maybe he'll listen to you.

Hinkie: Hah, Evan, sure will.

The car door shuts, and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" comes on the oldies station. Hinkie chuckles for a second and starts to sing along softly to himself as the car pulls away from the airport.

Best of MLB: Dodgers deny Cubs' Jake Arrieta 21st straight win

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Best of MLB: Dodgers deny Cubs' Jake Arrieta 21st straight win

CHICAGO -- Scott Kazmir and two relievers combined on a one-hitter, matching zeros with Cubs ace Jake Arrieta before the Los Angeles Dodgers got to Chicago's bullpen for a 5-0 victory Tuesday night.

Arrieta went seven scoreless innings, but was denied his 21st consecutive victory. The Cubs had won in Arrieta's last 23 starts.

Cubs left-hander Clayton Richard (0-1) gave up three straight singles to lefties in the eighth, the last Adrian Gonzalez's liner to left that scored Chase Utley and ended the Dodgers' 16-inning scoreless streak.

Corey Seager hit a three-run homer off Trevor Cahill in the ninth.

Joe Blanton (3-2) struck out three in two perfect innings as the Dodgers snapped the Cubs' six-game winning streak.

Kazmir allowed a single and a walk with seven strikeouts in six innings. Adam Liberatore struck out one in a perfect ninth (see full recap).

Betts hits trio of homers in Red Sox win
BALTIMORE -- Mookie Betts hit a career-high three homers and drove in five runs, and the Boston Red Sox cruised past the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 on Tuesday night to open a three-game lead in the AL East.

Betts led off the game with a shot to center and added a three-run drive to left in the second inning. After lining out to second base in the fourth, Betts hit a bases-empty homer to right in the seventh.

Batting in the ninth inning with a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, Betts grounded out to second against rookie Ashur Tolliver.

Still, he's the first Boston player to hit three homers in a game since Will Middlebrooks against Toronto on April 7, 2013. Betts' 12 home runs rank second on the team behind David Ortiz, who has 14.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts stretched his career-best hitting streak to 24 games with a single in the seventh inning (see full recap).

Rockies tie franchise record with 7 HRs
DENVER -- Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each hit two of Colorado's team record-tying seven homers, powering the Rockies to a 17-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

Blackmon became the first player in Rockies history to hit leadoff homers in back-to-back games and added his first career grand slam in the seventh. Carlos Gonzalez homered for a fourth straight game, while DJ LeMahieu and Gerardo Parra also went deep.

It was the first time Colorado hit seven homers at Coors Field. The team also had seven on April 5, 1997, in Montreal.

Rockies right-hander Jon Gray (3-2) allowed three runs in six solid innings.

Jon Moscot (0-3) was hit hard in his return from the disabled list. He surrendered seven runs and four homers in two innings. Moscot also was grazed in the right ear in the third while bunting. Moscot stayed down for a moment before taking his base (see full recap).

Difference in talent, power glaring as Phillies continue to lose to top teams

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Difference in talent, power glaring as Phillies continue to lose to top teams

BOX SCORE

The gap in talent level that exists between the Phillies and some of the top teams in the majors has really been evident over the last eight games.
 
The Phillies have lost seven of those eight games to the Tigers, Cubs and Nationals. Tuesday night brought the latest defeat, a 5-1 loss to the National League East-leading Nats at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay). The Nats have won the first two games of the series and go for the sweep on Wednesday night.
 
While losing seven of their last eight, the Phillies have seen their feel-good story turn to dust. Their record has gone from 25-19 to 26-26 and their deficit in the NL East from two games to 5½.
 
“We had a good month and a half,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “When things are going good, they snowball. When things are going bad, they snowball. We’ve got to keep that snowball from rolling. We’ve got to get out of it.”
 
There are a number of reasons the Phillies have hit hard times. Poor offense is a big one. They have been held to two or fewer runs five times in their last seven losses and 20 times for the season. They are now averaging 3.15 runs per game, the lowest mark in the majors. Offense like that is the reason why Aaron Nola can pitch six innings of two-run ball and lose on two mistake pitches as he did Tuesday night. These pitchers have no margin for error.
 
One of the offensive’s big shortcomings is the lack of power. The Phils have been out-homered 15-7 in the last eight games. Washington hit four longballs on Tuesday night; the Phillies hit none. In fact, the Phillies had just four hits – period.
 
“We’re just getting out-homered every night,” Mackanin said. “We’re not hitting home runs. I feel like it’s a broken record. We’re not hitting.”
 
For the season, the Phillies have 39 homers. Only Atlanta has hit fewer.
 
And it doesn’t appear as if things are going to get all that much better any time soon. Management would consider trading for a bat close to the July trading deadline – if the team is in the race. With reality striking hard lately, it’s tough to see this team being in the race for anything but a top-10 pick in next year’s draft. In the short term, the Phils could soon have Cody Asche back on the roster.
 
“Our pitching overall has been very good,” Mackanin said. “We’ve just got to hit.”
 
The Nationals won this game with power and good starting pitching.
 
Right-hander Joe Ross held the Phils to a run over seven innings – an RBI triple by Cesar Hernandez.
 
Meanwhile, Jayson Werth capitalized on a poorly located fastball by Nola and homered two batters into the game. Daniel Murphy got Nola in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie.
 
Nola would like to have had both pitches back.
 
“The pitch to Werth was right down the chute,” he said. “With Murphy, I wanted to get it in a little further and I didn’t.”
 
Other than that, Nola was pretty good. He pitched out of trouble in the second inning and was supported by a double play started nicely at second by Hernandez and a nice catch by Odubel Herrera in center field.
 
“We’re doing some things right but not enough of them,” Mackanin said.
 
“That’s baseball,” Nola said of the lack of run support. “Sometimes we pitch bad and get a lot of run support. The guys are battling. I feel like we’re going to bounce back the next couple of games.”
 
The Nationals blew the game open with three runs in the ninth against reliever Colton Murray. Danny Espinosa smacked a two-run homer and Stephen Drew followed with an inside-the-park homer.
 
The two home runs deprived Nats closer Jonathan Papelbon a chance at a save as he recorded the final three outs against his old team.

Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 1

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Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

The Phillies' late-May slide continued in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night.
 
Aaron Nola delivered a solid start, but got poor run support. The Phillies entered the game averaging 3.2 runs per game, lowest in the majors.
 
The Nationals scored all their runs on home runs.
 
The Phillies have lost nine of their last 11 games. They are 1-7 in their last eight and have gone from 25-19 and two games back in the NL East to 26-26 and 5½ games back.
  
Starting pitching report
Nola went six innings and allowed two runs, both on solo homers. He walked one and struck out six. He is 4-4 with a 2.88 ERA.
 
Washington right-hander Joe Ross (5-4) pitched a strong game. He gave up just three hits and a run over seven innings. He walked two and struck out five. Ross has given up just two runs over 14 innings in his last two starts.
 
Bullpen report
Jonathan Papelbon closed it out for the Nats in a non-save situation.
 
At the plate
The Phillies had just four hits. They have been held to two or fewer runs 20 times in their 52 games.

Cesar Hernandez tripled home the Phillies' only run.

Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy accounted for the Nationals’ first two runs pair of solo homers against Nola. Danny Espinosa smacked a two-run homer off Colton Murray in the ninth and Stephen Drew followed with an inside-the-park homer.
 
Murphy also singled in the game. He had 47 hits in the month of May, tying a Washington/Montreal franchise record that had previously been shared by Al Oliver and Marquis Grissom.

Lineup stuff
Mackanin was trying to send Hernandez a message by batting him eighth (see story).
 
Bryce Harper did not play for Washington. He was hit on the right leg by a pitch in Monday night’s game.
 
Slumping Ryan Howard started at first base and went hitless in three at-bats to fall to .154. He hit .101 (7 for 69) in the month of May.
 
Howard will not start Wednesday night against Max Scherzer. He is 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts against Scherzer. Tommy Joseph will start that game.
 
Minor matters
Cody Asche’s minor-league rehab stint expires Wednesday. He could rejoin the team at any time.
 
Up next
 The series concludes on Wednesday night. Lefty Adam Morgan (1-3, 6.67) pitches against Washington right-hander Scherzer (5-4, 4.05).