“Hello friend Meyers.”
Looking up from his phone, Meyers Leonard regarded his teammate Jusuf Nurkic with narrowed, suspicious eyes. “Hey Nurk.”
“I wanting to talk to you about minutes situation,” Jusuf said, knowing that this question would almost certainly provoke an emotional response from Meyers.
“What’s there to talk about?” Meyers asked. “There’s not enough minutes to go around, coach decided he’s not going to play me, and that’s all there is to it, really.” His tone was superficially casual, but Jusuf could tell there was a significant amount of anger and frustration under the surface.
“What if I telling you that there is way for Meyers to begins receivings many minutes again?”
Meyers raised his eyebrows. “Are there trade rumors?”
Jusuf shook his head as he sat down next to Meyers’ locker and put his hand on his teammates’ shoulder. “Not like that. But I tell you as friend to friend, there is one person in Blazers who ruining both me career and you career, just same as Nikola Jokic ruining career in Nuggets.”
When Meyers only responded with a look of confusion, Jusuf continued, “Zach Collins. He is one who ruins careers and takings the minutes away from us, players who are older and more of deservings.”
Meyers shrugged. “Yeah, well, he’s the franchise darling, and he’s playing pretty good right now, so good luck telling coach to reduce his minutes.”
“I just saying, there is way to making sure Zach getting no minutes in future, if you understand me,” Jusuf said quietly, aware that there could be eavesdroppers even though the two of them were seemingly alone in the locker room. “If you wanting help with Zach problem, text me on phone.” He gave Meyers a pat on the back as he got up. “Think about it.”
For a long time after that, Meyers sat by himself in the locker room. Thinking.