Starting From Scratch

  • By Andrew Taylor, Day 1, 2021

By Skip ‘Hack’ Morrissey – Beat Writer
Baltimore Sun

It’s not hard to misjudge the city of Baltimore. It’s all too easy to watch ‘The Wire’ or look at the crime statistics and paint the city as the textbook example of urban decay. But real life isn’t a television show and the soul of a city cannot be captured by statistics. No one will confuse the city with Las Vegas, the former home that both I and the new Bullets GM Andrew Taylor share. But in the time I’ve spent here since relocating, pulling a Windhorst to run this very paper’s ‘Bedouin Beat,’ the city has shown itself to be so much more. This is a city climbing its way back, driven by an emerging tech sector and a resilient people, who know that despite the hard years, better times are coming. And today in Baltimore there is perhaps no more tangible sign of the city’s resurgence than the brand-new USS Constellation Arena.

A shimmering ship of glass, inspired by the Klimahaus Bremerhaven in Germany, it is a spectacular new addition to the Inner Harbour district. Looming over its namesake, the last sail only warship built by the United States Navy, the arena has already won dozens of architectural awards. But yesterday with the 2021 season only days away I was not at the arena to admire the building, but to interview the man who will build the team that inhabits it, GM Andrew Taylor best known as Bedouin.

I still can’t believe it’s only been 4 years since he was introduced to the media as the new GM of the Scorpions. So much has happened that it feels more like 13 years. But despite all the trades, the feuds and the league sanctions the man ultimately delivered on the three-word commitment he gave to us on that very first day; Scorpions. Playoffs. Championship.

Yet whilst his departure from the Las Vegas Scorpions was hardly a shock, his extremely sudden acceptance of the Baltimore Bullet’s GM role was a surprise to many around the league. The man was offered what has subsequently been rumoured to be the largest salary ever for a JBL GM and already had almost unlimited control over basketball operations. But despite that he rejected the contract and took on a role on the other side of the country, a course of action that he has not yet explained. Gaining an explanation for that choice was on the top of my agenda for our discussion.
A far more casual Bedouin than I’m used to met me in the foyer of the building. Unshaven and decked out in an official Bullets hoodie, which has already become the hottest fashion item in the city, he could have been mistaken for any regular fan if it wasn’t for the gigantic championship ring on his right hand. He gave me a tour of the court, which has gained acclaim for its unique design choices, most notably its keys, which are designed to evoke the team’s namesake. But perhaps even more impressive is the GM’s office with its phenomenal floor to ceiling panoramic view of Inner Harbour and the USS Constellation.

After we took a quick moment to admire the view Bedouin led me to some couches and we took a seat. While I cued up my recorder he took a moment to light a cigar before we started the interview. What you read below is a transcript of that interview, which was a wide-ranging discussion on Bedouin’s move, his team building philosophy and the many, many moves which he has already made during his time at the helm.

S – “So how are you enjoying the city of Baltimore, it’s definitely a substantial change from Las Vegas.”

B – “Skip, I feel like you are kind of leading the witness there. It’s like you want me to throw Las Vegas under the bus...”

S – “That hurts.”

B – “…But to answer your question of course it’s a change. Las Vegas is a modern city, all sanded down edges and bright lights. I love it there, and I still own my home there, but Baltimore is something unique. There is a history here that Las Vegas will never have. This place has been to the top and the bottom. It has some real big rough edges but just look out that window. Look at what we’re building here. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of.”

S – “So would it be safe to say that the idea of building something new was a key part of the appeal of your new role?”

B – “It’s not just about building a team though, that’s a little binary. It’s about helping to build community. I want this organization to be something that brings all the distinct parts of our city together. I want it to be a source of civic pride. We’re twice the city our more famous neighbour is, and I want this team to deliver that message every time it hits the court. And perhaps most important of all I want the members of our team to be role models for the disenfranchised youth of our city, and that is why I am so pleased that we have two homegrown players in Jamar and DeQuan on our team.”

S – “Twice the city that DC is?”

B – “Well Skip, we have criminals of circumstance. They have criminals of choice. I know who I want on my team.”

S – “Well I tend to lead you into league sanctions, but I draw the line at slander so how about me move on.”

B – “Only slander if it isn’t true Skip. But let’s move on.”

S – “Sounds like a plan. So, before we talk about some of the specific moves you made this offseason, and there are many to talk about…”

B – “…14 to talk about.”

S – “Before we talk about some of the 14 moves you made I want to speak a little about your general plans heading into the offseason. Your approach was very different from that of the other expansion teams so I’m keen for you to explain the rationale behind it.”

B – “Sure Skip. My approach going into the offseason was simple when you look at it in broad strokes. I wanted to acquire a veteran leader and as much young talent as was possible. But this wasn’t a conventional offseason which I thought brought with it some unique opportunities as well as some unique risks to contend with. On the positive side of the ledger we had several teams that were carrying too many assets, assets which they wouldn’t be able to protect ahead of the expansion draft. As such there were certainly teams that were incentivized sellers. On the flip side with the amount of money available to the expansion teams I was concerned that Free Agency would be a challenging way in which to add good talent at an acceptable price and having been largely capped out for the past two seasons I’ve developed a new-found appreciation for good contracts.

S – “You’ve spoken about the trade market and free agency but what about the draft?”

B – “Is this where you repeat that old chestnut that I don’t value the draft?”

S – “I might have been pointing in that general direction.”

B – “I think it depends on the circumstances Skip. Obviously at the Scorpions we were inside a title window, so I naturally valued veteran contributors. But the circumstances are different here. And my approach is different here. You’ll note that I have 3 first round selections on our roster. I don’t think you can reconcile that with someone who doesn’t value the draft. But at the same time, it is true that I don’t necessarily value 2nd round picks and 3rd round picks. I view them as lottery tickets, and you don’t get rich playing the lottery. It’s like going to the casino, the odds aren’t in your favour.”

S – “And where do younger players like Ilic, Navigato and Rice fit in?”

B – “I kind of view them as lottery selections, but with a slightly greater chance of success. The three guys you cited are all former top 10 picks. They’re all still on their cost-controlled rookie contracts. And all three have shown flashes but have lacked for a consistent opportunity. I intend to give them that consistent opportunity. Now, I’m not suggesting that all three will become all-stars, but I think they’ve all demonstrated that potential. And if even one does then we’re in great shape.”

S – “So obviously with the season only days away we can see the team that you’ve assembled. But when you first arrived did you have a particular type of team in mind?”

B – “I think I came at it from the other direction Skip. I didn’t know what team I wanted to build, but I knew what team I didn’t want to build.”

S – “Should we take that to mean you didn’t want to build the Scorpions V2.0?”

B – “I think that’s a reasonably fair summary Skip, although I would like to clarify that this shouldn’t be taken as a criticism of Rowland or any of the players who were on my Scorpions rosters. I think you need to look at the context in which that team was constructed. The Rockets had been to 4 consecutive finals and have probably been the most dominant team of the last 5 years. I strongly adhere to the idea that to be the best, you need to beat the best. And the style of team that the Scorpions were, because they won’t be that team this coming season, reflects that philosophy. They were constructed to defeat the Rockets, and they did. But the league is always evolving and I think that its fair to say the style the team played may not be the best way to achieve success today. Any style can win a championship, I firmly believe that, and the league is more interesting with a diverse range of approaches. But a slow, methodical, defensive style has a far smaller margin of error.”

S – “Why do you think that is?”

B – “I think that’s primarily due to the increasing focus on the long ball around the league. The Scorpions weren’t a particularly formidable team from range and that presented a significant risk when we came up against a team that got hot from behind the arc. And whilst I think it may be a little simplistic, I think that’s probably a fair summation of what ultimately cost us a return to the finals last season.”

S – “Okay, so is it fair to say that distance shooting was something you had in mind when constructing this Bullets squad? I know you’ve said you didn’t have a particular set style in mind, but surely you had some attributes or skills that you were interested in?”

B – “Of course. I went into this offseason knowing that I’d be active in the trade market, I believe I joked that we’d hit 10 trades before the season commenced. And when you’re active in the trade market, or any market, you need to know what you’re looking for. I knew I wanted to play a more up-tempo style with some motion concepts. As such athleticism, passing and versatility were definitely things that I was interested in. And of course, 3pt shooting which we’ve already touched upon.

S – Okay, well now that we’ve established what you were looking for do you mind if we kind of go through each trade in turn and explore the decision-making process and what you were trying to achieve. You conducted a lot of different trades, utilizing a lot of different trade mechanisms, and I think it would be really interesting for the fans to get a nuts and bolts understanding of how things came together?”

B – “Sure. You want to just roll through them in order?”

S – “Absolutely.”

B – “Heading into the offseason I knew I wanted to be active in the trade market, man gotta live what he know after all, and unlike free agency if you want to make trades you need tangible assets to exchange. As an expansion team we started with 6 assets; the team’s draft picks in each of the next 3 drafts. That obviously wasn’t going to be enough so when the opportunity came to exchange our 18th pick for 3 picks that the Thunder controlled it was a very easy decision to make.”

S – “Some fans were concerned that the 18th pick was a lot to give up for 2 later selections.”

B – “I see the concern but think the history books don’t really bear it out. We haven’t had a lot of stars come from outside the top 10, so I saw it more as 2 shots at the board vs just 1. And keep in mind I wasn’t necessarily acquiring the picks so that I could make those selections on draft night.”

S – “So it probably makes sense to look at the next two trades together. The acquisition of Pace LaGarde from the Kings got the fanbase very excited, but then you almost immediately traded him away? Was that always the plan?”

B – “Pretty much so, but a deal isn’t done until the deal is done. But to take it back a step we identified that the Kings were a team that had protection issues and were looking to move on some of their veteran talent. Utilizing the salary matching exemption we were able to acquire Pace for the 8th pick in next year’s draft, which I considered an excellent price. Now Pace is an exceptional talent, and I certainly would have been proud for him to be part of our inaugural team. However at his age time isn’t on his side and I didn’t really believe that we would be in a position to compete during the remainder of his prime.

S – “So the fans shouldn’t anticipate a 1 year rebuild like we saw at the Scorpions?”

B – “No they shouldn’t. And it should be noted that wasn’t initially the plan, but certain opportunities accelerated the plan. Having said that taking those opportunities resulted in a team that only ever had a very small window. In taking a different approach here in Baltimore I am hoping that a slower more careful approach will result in a longer window of success.

S – “So you never really intended to keep Pace.”

B – “Not 100%. Once we realized that we would be able to acquire Pace we approached several teams that our front office had identified that had holes on the wings. But things narrowed down to the Mustangs quickly. The 7th selection for Pace was always the centrepiece of the deal but we obviously needed to add additional pieces to make things work. We needed to get the salary matching in order whilst at the same time keeping the Mustangs under the hard trading line. As a result, we ended up with McLeish and Sherman as well. But I think both teams are very happy with the outcome and I’m certainly bullish on the Mustangs chances this year.

S – “Next up you sent two 2nd round picks to the Jaguars in exchange for Pick #21 in this year’s draft.”

B – “Yeah this was another situation in which a team had protection issues and was willing to exchange a current asset for some future ones.”

S – “Given the convoluted chicanery that took place later with the Lightning was there any discussion at this point in time about your later deal for Quinton Rice?”

B – “Convoluted chicanery, love the alliteration Skip but that’s a little hyperbolic.”

S – “You didn’t answer the question.”

B – “No I didn’t. As I explained I think that trade makes sense in isolation.”

S – “So moving along next up you flipped the 7th pick for Dimitri Ilic and the 11th pick. Given what you’ve said about the value of top 10 picks what was the rationale there.”

B – “Well firstly I’m not sure 7 to 11 was a huge drop. We thought it was a deep draft, but one that dropped off a tad after pick 6 in terms of star power. So, we felt we were likely to miss out on the top tier guys either way. But this deal was more about Dimitri and what I felt he could offer the team. As I said I wanted to implement some motion offense concepts and I felt that our best chance of doing that successfully was to ensure we had passing at all levels. And there are very few big men who can pass well in this league. Dimitri is one of them, a truly unique player. I’m not sure he ever got a full chance to show off what he could do in Phoenix, but we certainly be giving him the opportunity. I think the fans will love what he brings to the table.”

S – “And then you swapped a pick with the Lumberjacks?”

B – “The 33rd pick this year for the 33rd pick next year. Pretty simple really. We were already adding players to our roster and had more picks than I wanted us to hold if we had to end up making the selections. Essentially we punted one to next year.”

S – “The next trade was one that really helped reinforce that ‘Bed hates the draft’ narrative that you dislike. The 11th and 29th picks to the Colonels in exchange for the 22nd pick and a future first.”

B – “See, this is why I don’t get the media sometimes. How the hell do you see me swap two draft picks for two draft picks and conclude that I hate the draft. It’s like saying 2 plus 2 is 88. Shiiiiit!

S – “Given I don’t want you to go off on the media again, although I’d point out that we both aren’t in Vegas anymore, let’s move onto the next deal; Pick 21 and 33 to the Dragons for Pick 20 this coming year.”

B – “I was 100% committed Skip, but let’s not relitigate that. That trade was far more important than it first appears because it really was all about the acquisition of Jamar Strickland that came immediately afterwards. Since we had completed our trade for Pace, Andrew and I had been discussing Jamar Strickland. The price was a late 1st round pick in the 2022 draft and I had been furiously trying to acquire one. I thought I was there a couple of times, but a few deals collapsed, and it was just becoming a real drawn out saga. Finally the deal with the Dragons came along and we flipped that pick for Strickland and the Kings 2022 2nd.”

S – “Why was the second included?”

B – “Because we had discussed a lower pick than Pick #20, but I couldn’t get any lower than that. Certain individuals in Miami are hoarding them all.”

S – “So is it fair to say you really wanted to get Jamar Strickland.”

B – “Getting Jamar was really vital to what we were trying to achieve for a number of reasons. Firstly, we intended to play an up-tempo system with motion concepts. And there are very few better distributors than Jamar. Secondly, Jamar is a strong scorer in his own right and is great from range. Thirdly, we were looking for a veteran leader to guide our younger players and Jamar has been the leader on a finals team. Finally, and this was really the cherry on the top, Jamar is born and bred in Baltimore, and is super excited about representing his community at the highest level. I would not be surprised to see him come out and have the best season of his career. That’s how amped up he is.”

S – “And that brings us to the Lightning trade, which it has been revealed was part of a larger deal split in two. A trade that is now, after the league office took immediate action, no longer possible.”

B – “But it was not against the rules at the time.”

S – “But it was certainly not in the spirit of the rules.”

B – “I like things a little more tangible than that Skip. I’m a real literal guy. But jokes aside, as they say in Baltimore, it’s all in the game.”

S – “So walk us through the two trades with the Lightning and I suppose the deal with the Scorpions as well. It’s possible one of the weirdest trades we’ve ever seen. As some of the media have broken it down you essentially ended up with a bunch of assets for free. Safe to say we’ll never see anything like it ever again.”

B – “It seems like we won’t. But to answer your question I approached the Lightning about Derrick Griffin early in the offseason. I’d traded him on from the Scorpions because I didn’t have the minutes to develop him properly. I’ve always maintained that he is a fearsome talent. But the Lightning had the same issue I had with Swayda blocking Griffin’s path as well as some protection issues. The deal we came to terms on was the Colonels 2023 1st round pick in exchange for Griff and the 17th pick in the draft. Unfortunately, we realized that due to the Swayda deal, which had sent out several 1st round picks, we were unable to complete the trade as negotiated. So, we split the deal. I’d take Griffin and two 2nd rounders now and would exchange them back later in exchange for the 17th pick.”

S – “But couldn’t the Lightning have just refused to have done the 2nd deal?”

B – “Absolutely, but a wise man doesn’t burn his bridges unless he first knows he can part the waters. It’s always best if you can make a deal and leave the door open for future dealings. You never know what you’ll need in the future.

S – “So obviously we know eventually you completed the second part of that deal, and I’d like to come back to it in a moment to discuss Randall Dozier, but first let’s touch upon the Scorpions piece. When did that come into play.”

B – “Well bits and pieces of this I only discovered after the fact and it was only this week that I discovered after reading RKG’s interview that he had tried to get Griffin from the Lightning first. But essentially shortly after we completed our initial trade with the Lightning they acquired Sowder from the Scorpions. The pick I had used to acquire Griffin, and later Dozier, was included in trade. When RKG approached me I was genuinely surprised and really wasn’t keen on trading away Griffin who was number 2 on my target list. However, given that I knew I had the 17th pick coming my way the ability to regain the Colonels pick along with a talented young SF like Kai was too much to turn down.”

S – “And so the net result at that point was Navigato and Pick 17, essentially for free.”

B – “Well he didn’t know that, but yes, that’s correct. At the end of the day sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And this was certainly one of those times.”

S – “So let’s come back to Dozier. Was he who you wanted all along. It’s presumed you had given names to the Lightning given your arrangement.”

B – “Randall was absolutely the player I wanted at 17 and draft day was a tense day here in the office. People forget Randall was the top player coming out of high school. But he went to a lower tier school and didn’t participate in the tournament, so people forgot all about him. I think he was certainly a top 10 talent.”

S – “Perhaps, but certainly his poor shooting also contributed to his lower rank on the scout rankings.”

B – “Sometimes when you are the singular talent on the team you have to take shots you might not in a better more egalitarian environment. And at the same time as you’re taking those sub optimal shots, you’re also getting more attention from the defence than you otherwise would. I’m confident that Randall will be a far more efficient scorer at the pro level surrounded by other talented offensive players and with great passers finding him in the right spots. Also, while we’re talking about Dozier I’d like to address some members of the media who have given him the nickname Black Eye. You should be f***ing ashamed of yourselves. That’s an atrocious slur on a young man who has done nothing wrong. He was not privy to the way in which I, as the leader of this front office, acquired him. You want to throw Black Eye at anyone, throw it at me. I can take it, besides Black-Eye Bed has a nice ring to it.”

S – “I’m not gonna call you that. The whole thing is ridiculous.”

B – “For once Skip we’re on the same page.”

S – “So your next trade was with the Rockets. Trading up from Pick 27 to Pick 24.”

B – “Another pretty simple one. A 2nd rounder next year for a 3-spot jump in this year’s draft. I though the jump from 27 to 24 would put me in range of some players I was interested in or allow me to address a different need at 22. Ultimately, I used the pick on who I had hoped would be available at 27, DeQuan White.

S – “DeQuan White is also from Baltimore correct?”

B – “Yeah, another home town kid. He’s excited to be back home. I think he’s got a lot of potential but we’ve got a lot of work to do with him. You don’t lead the CJBL in scoring without some serious talent, but the reality is that it’s a bigger jump from a smaller college to the professional level than it is from a bigger basketball factory school like Syracuse for example. We’ll bring him along slowly but I’m confident that he can be a solid contributor for us over the coming years?

S – “Will you be taking a similarly slow approach with DeAndre Morgan who you drafted at #22.”

B – “Not at all. DeAndre had a great season last year but unfortunately for his wallet he played his worst few games in the tournament. But we feel his play across the season is far more representative of where he is at than a few tournament games. We feel we got another steal here. So right now, we anticipate that DeAndre will backup Jamar and even get a few minutes in at SG. We think he’ll come along quickly with Austin and Jamar there to teach him what it takes to succeed at PG in the league.

S – “So that brings us to your final trade, the acquisition of Quinton Rice and two 2nd round picks for the Bullets 2023 1st round pick.”

B – “We would have liked to have complete this trade earlier, but we couldn’t because I had already traded my other 1st round picks. So in order to comply with the rules we waited till after the draft had been completed. Essentially this trade is a vote of confidence in Quinton’s ability. He is already a phenomenal 3pt shooter and an amazing athlete. But the kid is raw, he’s still only 20 years old. If I compare him to someone like Reggie Goodwin I see similar numbers, though to be fair Reggie was more efficient. But the main difference is that Reggie got to develop out of the public eye as the 4th option on a contending team. Quinton had to go through it on a young team fighting to climb their way back. Let’s just say I’m extremely confident that Quinton will blossom in Baltimore.

S – “So that takes us through to the end of the draft although its worth asking why you ultimately didn’t elect to sign Timmons and Morant, your 2nd and 3rd round selections.”

B – “I think both players have talent but realistically I didn’t see a scenario in which we would be able to give them playing time and properly develop them. In that case we’d be carrying guaranteed money on the books for no reason. Didn’t make sense for either party.”

S – “So you went into the expansion draft with 9 players already under contract. What did you hope to achieve in the expansion draft?”

B – “I wanted to acquire a quality center to backup Ilic, specifically one who was capable of playing the same motion style. I also wanted a veteran wing and a third centre to round out my big man rotation prior to free agency. Most importantly I didn’t want to commit any long-term money. I was thrilled to get Obradovic who is another great passer at the position and who was treated poorly by the Jailbirds last year. He’s far more talented than the opportunity he was given. Lorenzo Charles obviously has played for me before and I’m very comfortable about what he brings to the table, and his contract is superb. And with my last pick I was thrilled to get Isaiah Foreman who I’m very high on, I was really surprised to find him available at that stage.”

S – “Obviously you largely sat out Free Agency but before we move on to talk about the coaching staff it would be remiss if I didn’t ask about the rich one year deals you handed out to Tallec and Randolph.”

B – “Look I like both players, and I can see them making solid contributions to the Bullets. But there’s games beyond the game. And all the pieces matter. And that’s all I’ll say about that for now.”

S – “You know when you refuse to answer questions we all just assume you’re up to something.”

B – “Of course I know that, and most of the time it’s worth it just to mess with you all. Now I believe you wanted to talk about the coaching staff next?”

S – “Well it’s an interesting staff and I have a few questions. But I guess I’ll start with this; Obviously you have a long association with Austin dating back to 2004 at the Tritons. Was he always your target?

B – “No, I don’t believe you build a team that way. I went into this offseason hoping to put together a team that could play an up-tempo motion style. I thought early on that Austin would be a good fit for that type of team. But if I hadn’t acquired the players I have, or if I had acquired different players with different skills we would have implemented a different scheme and I would have looked for a different coach. I have a great relationship with Austin and I’d have a great relationship with him even if he wasn’t our head coach.”

S – “So after you hired a first-time head coach many expected you to target more experienced veterans for the assistant coach roles, but you went the other way. None of your coaches have ever coached at the JBL level before.

B – “That’s correct. But it wasn’t about experience. It was about surrounding Austin with coaches that complemented what he brought to the table. Austin will happily admit to you that he’s new to this and he has strengths in some places and weaknesses in others. Matt and Brian were brought in because of their own skills and how they complemented Austin. I can honestly say I never gave any consideration to their level of experience. As far as I’m concerned, we have a young team that is primed to grow together and a coaching staff that is ready to do the same. And I’m pretty confident that I know what your next question is.”

S – “I have to ask.”

B – “I know you do.”

S – “I think its fair to say that many of us were astonished when it was announced you had hired Brian Oliver as an assistant coach. It doesn’t seem that long ago you were getting your second league sanction specifically calling him out. Is this a case of keeping your friend’s close and your enemies closer?”

B – “That’s a bit dramatic Skip. Let’s take a step back for a moment. I got sanctioned because I cussed out the refs, not Brian.”

S – “You have likened him to a mentally disabled child and a geriatric who might pop a hip. Do you really think you’ll win this on semantics?”

B- “You make a fair point, but we can agree that sometimes people say things in the heat of the moment. And let’s be realistic, in both those situations I was unhappy with the refs. Brian was just a convenient target. And look obviously Brian and I have had some extensive conversations over the past few weeks as we discussed the role. I’ve apologized for the mentally disabled child comparison, and he’s acknowledged that he’s not getting any younger. So we’re even.”

S – “Really?”

B – “Jokes aside, we’re both professionals, and I think Brian has a lot to give to this team. And I think Brian recognizes that this is a good place for him to start his coaching career. This is a guy who barely got a chance to play for his first 5 years and didn’t really break out till his 6th. He just kept working and working and getting better and he retired as one of the greats of the game. I cannot think of a better role model for some of our young players particularly our bigs like Dimitri, Dozier, Sherman and Foreman. And if he can teach them all how to get 20 free throw attempts a game that would be an added bonus.”

S – “So I think we’ve covered off pretty much everything I wanted to discuss. So, I guess my final question is what are your personal expectations for the team this year?”

B – “This season isn’t about making the playoffs, or any set win target. We’ve obviously done some projections but that sits at a front office level and we have deliberately chosen not to sure those projections with the coaching staff or the players. I’m sure they’ll hear some external noise from the media, but it won’t come from us internally. And that was a conscious choice because we want them focused on one thing only; improving. We are implementing a challenging offensive system and we have a lot of young players who have barely even touched the surface of what they are capable of. What’s important to me is that when I see a positive trendline. Because no matter where you start from, if you keep moving up eventually you’ll reach the summit.”

S – “Thanks for your time Bed and good luck for the upcoming season.”

B – “You’re welcome Skip. I’m sure I’ll do something that warrants speaking to you again soon.”