White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Well, this was interesting. Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, Devin Nunes, Ivanka, and Jerrod somehow didn’t get their invitations I’m to assume. Maybe they were too busy still conning some lost white souls somewhere in the Rust Bucket. Maybe even telling them that at some point one single piece of legislation containing the erasure of the Alternative Minimum Tax will be passed on their behalf sometime in the next four years.

I have to admit, the first time I watched Hasan Minhaj’s speech, it kind of numbed me. It made me feel a little uncomfortable. Then I googled it and watched it a second time. And here’s the thing, I’m a white fifty-nine year old moderate dude from Deer Creek, Oklahoma—and I couldn’t find much he said I don’t agree with in relation to Donald Trump, The First Amendment, and our press.

Where else in the world could this happen? Now, I’m fairly certain there’s not many other white dudes in Deer Creek who feel like I do, but still, where else could this happen but in America?

And that’s the beauty of what he ultimately said after pretty much the same things I’ve been writing on here since Caligula Lite somehow became the GOP’s nominee for POTUS.

Where else but in America could you have a seventy year-old furniture store sport fucking zenmaster tweeting at three in the morning while totally sober while pretending to be President of the United States? Then get rebuked by a young Muslim in D.C. in front of the world. Only in America, baby.

But now, more than ever in our history, it is incumbent upon the press to do their jobs and report the news.

I liked what he said collectively said about Fox, MSNBC, and CNN–in that I agree all three are part of the problem as to what we’ve become. Cable news shouldn’t be partisan cheerleading, it should just be the news. Report the news and get the facts right. I didn’t see Wolf Blitzer or Dana Bash smiling all that much.

But all in all, I thought it was a great speech because as he said…where else but in America could a Muslim make a speech in front of the world in Washington D.C. and be allowed to tell the complete truth about Donald Trump?

Think about the power of those twenty minutes or so just keeping that fact in mind. And this is what ultimately makes America so unique as to the rest of the world. Never, ever take the First Amendment for granted. It’s our most precious liberty.

Donald Trump’s First Hundred Days

I’m not an ideologue of really any sort. I just believe that any president needs to be smart, qualified, and have a mature vision of America’s leadership role in the world.

Donald Trump is obviously somewhat smart or else there’s no way he could have kidnapped the National Republican Party and won the presidency. So, with some reluctance I’d have to say from a purely secular view of how to con people—Donald Trump is a smart guy.

As far as being qualified, so far he hasn’t shown me anything. Not one piece of meaningful legislation has been passed to date. No repeal or repair of health care, no tax reform , and nothing with deregulation except the shameful appointment of Oklahoma’s own Scott Pruitt to head EPA. No wall. Nothing from Congress to Mexico to suggest they would pay for the wall. No real concessions from China. No redos to date of any trade treaty except for the U.S. pulling out of the Trans Pacific Agreement. No new deal with Iran on the nuclear deal. No concession to date from North Korea. A failed Muslim ban hasn’t helped assuage the feel of failure as well.

On to jobs. After the economy collapsed in 2008 under W, the U.S was losing 800,000 jobs a month. In the aftermath of the meltdown, the Obama presidency had a period of sustained growth of around 200,000 jobs a month which carried over into the first two months of Trump’s presidency until the March report when 98,000 jobs were created. Trump’s first quarter GDP report was released and it was a paltry .7 per cent. Trump has clearly stated that a 3-4% real GDP growth would be a walk in the park for his presidency. What I think someone in the Trump camp might want to understand is the whole world economy isn’t growing at real GDP in excess of 2%. It’s a global thing, as in we’re all connected. I know Trump followers don’t read Thomas Friedman or buy into climate change or globalization—but it is what it is. Even places like Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi have to acknowledge some degrees of math and science at some point.

Trump’s appointments of Jeff Sessions, Scott Pruitt, Betsy Devos, and Tom Price are all shameful. What else could be written?

Michael Flynn was fired 24 days into Trump’s presidency and will either serve some prison time or cut a deal at some point with the Feds.

The one bright spot to date has been some mature person other than Donald Trump picked Generals Mattis, McMasters, and Kelly to keep an eye on Donald Trump. They’ve gotten rid of Bannon pretty much, and seem bent on educating Donald Trump on the importance of things like NATO, alliances, treaties, and the fact the U.S. won WWII and the Cold War to protect freedoms from dictators like Vladimir Putin. The generals are to date the only part of the first hundred days which aren’t a shameful disgrace unless you’re convinced Mitch McConnell going nuclear to affirm Neil Gorsuch some how saves the Republic.

Trump did bomb a Syrian air field and closed it for 24 hours, but I’m not sure what that really accomplished. As I’m not sure what dropping the MOAB did for the world either.

Trump has yet to leave the country once on a diplomatic trip. He’s no Nixon in that regard. He’s not that deep. He only sees the world thru a lense which ultimately enriches Donald Trump. He loves Alex Jones. He reads the National Enquirer. He loves playing golf in Florida. He loves talking furniture store sport fucking with Billy Bush or anyone else willing to buy his bullshit.

In the end of these first hundred days, if you played the market you did well. If you didn’t, then not one meaningful thing to date has been done in any way which has made your life better or easier or fairer. Not one thing. Funny, one of the first things Trump did was raise the rate of FHA loans a quarter of a per cent. I’m not exactly sure how that helps struggling Americans, but there it was. But then again, those who squeal Build the Wall or Lock Her Up probably didn’t notice.

America, are you tired of winning too much yet?

For those still aspiring to attain furniture store sport fucking zenmaster status—-this is for you.

First Take on Westbrook Staying in OKC

You won’t get any of this from the OKC media except maybe from Jim Traber on WWLS when he’s ranting about the roster. None of the print guys would ever write anything like this because Clay Bennett is one of the most powerful men in the state. I’ve never read anything even remotely close to this from Berry Tramel or say Royce Young on the ESPN beat coverage. But pretty much everything said here on this First Take segment by Steven A and Max is correct.

Basically, OKC at one point had Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, and Reggie Jackson on the same roster at very young ages. The notion that only one remains can’t be ignored. If you’ve been watching the playoffs, Durant, Harden, and Ibaka have all advanced to the second round. Scott Brooks is one win away from advancing to the second round as well. So…let’s keep all that in mind.

Myself, I believe Westbrook does actually like it here. Oklahoma is a tough ass place to live for tough minded people. Westbrook fits the mold and I believe he does actually genuinely appreciate the fan’s love for him here. But at some point, he’s going to look around the NBA landscape and say, “Why doesn’t my owner put some players around me other than guys on rookie scale deals?”

The roster as it is now in no way give Westbrook a chance to compete for an NBA championship next season. None.

The first thing I’m watching is Taj Gibson. Does he even seriously consider staying here or go back to Chicago or some place else? I’m fairly certain Russell and his agent will be watching that at well.

Does OKC even entertain the notion of trading Kanter for an honest two way player who can help against the Warriors and Rockets?

Does maybe OKC actually spend a few dollars and acquire a quality backup point guard? You’ll notice if you’re paying attention, the top four contenders this season all have quality backup point guards. Golden State has Livingstone. San Antonio has Patty Mills. Houston has Lou Williams. Lebron has Deron Williams. Russell Westbrook had Billy Donovan playing Semaj Christon the first two games of the Houston series at backup pointy guard.

So while I thought it was nice Russell said he wants to stay here in his exit interview, always remember one thing–the NBA is an agent driven league and I’m fairly certain Russell Westbrook’s agent and his client are going to be keeping a very keen eye on what the Thunder’s roster looks like as camp opens next season.

Sam Presti and Clay Bennett need to decide if they just want to field a team which can sell tickets in a college market with a college level media covering a developmental team or a team which can genuinely compete for an NBA title or at the least a divisional championship. Because right now–I have the Utah Jazz firmly circled in red to repeat as Northwest Divisional champions next season.

2017 Steven Adams Exit Interview

This is Steven Adams’ exit interview from yesterday. Steven would be my second favorite Thunder player to listen to as far as nuances of the game. Plus, he has a great sense of humor. I particularly enjoyed listening to him explain Enes Kanter’s challenge of lateral mobility. He was very diplomatic. I’ll leave it at that.

No Berry Tramel asking any questions of Steven during over nine minutes of interview time access. How could this be? I thought Tramel was mesmerized by everything Steven thought Thunder related. Was Tramel lunching with Dan Patrick? Or was he doing some legwork on the Baker Mayfield – Pickleman’s story he should have written a week before the Sugar Bowl and a couple of months before Fayetteville? It must be the latter, because we all know how entirely absorbed Berry Tramel is with journalistic integrity. Color me Colonel Frank Slade.

Anyway, here’s Steven’s interview. Good interview, mate.

My hero.

2017 Nick Collison Exit Interview

I’ve come to love and respect Russell Westbrook, but Nick has been my favorite Thunder player since Season 1 in Oklahoma City. He’s smart, tough, skilled, and the total team player. It very much heartened me to hear Nick is going to keep playing next year. I agree with him in that he still has enough to have a positive impact on this team in pockets of play, plus his teaching and leadership skills. Nick Collison has always been my favorite interview to listen to of all Thunder players. If you listen closely, you’ll always learn a new thing or two about the game when Nick is speaking. Always. Very ironic for me that a hated Kansas Jayhawk has become one of my favorite basketball players of all-time.

If I Were Sam Presti

Assuming Russell Westbrook stays this is what I would do to build my team for the future. I wouldn’t go after another superstar per se. Blake Griffin and Paul George wouldn’t be in my template for this Thunder team at this point.

I’d do to some extent what Morey has done in Houston with Harden. I’d build the team around Russell Westbrook with a supporting cast which highlights his abilities.

First thing I’d do is trade Enes Kanter and see if I could get a functional two way shooting guard for him. Just a solid player, heady player.

Second thing I’d do is try and resign Taj Gibson and hopefully have my core stable of bigs next season be Adams, Gibson, and Sabonis.

Then, I come to terms with the Andre Roberson situation. If another team’s offer exceeds $7 million a year, then I have to let him walk even as much as I love his defense and intangibles. If that happens, then I simply insert Jerami Grant into the starting rotation. A starting five of Westbrook, Oladipo, Adams, Gibson, and Grant would be for the first time in Thunder history be a combination of five honest two way players.

The bench is next. The combo/hybrid guard I get for Kanter would be my Sixth Man. I’d join him with Sabonis, McDermott, Abrines—-and maybe a vet backup guard who can score some.

If Nick Collison wants to come back as a player/coach for say a million a year—I’d be totally good with it.

I’m not sure what I’d do with Kyle Singler in that I’m not sure what you could get if anything get in return.

For the time being, I’d keep Semaj and Huestis, but I wouldn’t put my trust in either of them being rotation players.

Houston basically plays with eight guys. They just won 55 games with only one real star player—James Harden. They made their team better by picking up Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson. None of these three are what I’d describe as stars. Just solid contributing vet players.

So–the first two things I’d do if I were Presti would be to resign Gibson, then trade Kanter for a hybrid guard. Market forces will dictate the Roberson decision so that’s just a wait and see type thing.

Build the team around Russell, but just give him some more offensive help. I would expect marked improvement from Sabonis, Abrines, and McDermott next season—so I think that’s pretty much the way I’d go. But what Presti can get in return for Kanter needs to be a decent player who can stay on the floor against the likes of the Warriors and Rockets.

Sam Presti, get to work, buddy.

Final Westbrook Post Game Presser of the Season

The team is doing their exit interviews today. This was Westbrook’s post game presser last night. Moving forward, I have no idea whatsoever what Russell Westbrook’s thoughts are on his future in Oklahoma City. He’s contractually obligated for next season, then he has an option out clause the following season.

Sam Presti has some significant work in front of him to make this team better next season. Taj Gibson is an unrestricted free agent. Andre Roberson is a restricted free agent. Enes Kanter probably needs to be part of some type of deal which brings an honest two way swing player to the Thunder. There’s some major adjustments which need to be made to make this team more than just Russell Westbrook.

Somebody needs to emerge as consistent second and third offensive weapons. I mean, ask yourself, who was OKC’s second best player this season? I can’t answer it because I didn’t see one on a consistent basis.

But I have no idea whatsoever what Russell Westbrook feels about his long term future in OKC. I would think he’d like to play on a serious contender, but OKC is not a contender as presently constructed.

It should be a very interesting off season for Sam Presti.

Houston Ends Thunder’s Season in Game 5

The Thunder’s season ended in Houston last night as the Rockets had just enough offense from the free throw line to wear down OKC by a 105-99 count. That magical number of 115 for Houston really didn’t come into play on this night as the Rockets were a miserable 6-35 shooting threes, but as was the case in this series in pretty much all five games, Houston lived on the free throw line…most notably James Harden and Lou Williams.

Russell Westbrook was once again heroic with a 47 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist night. As was the case this entire season, Westbrook put Sam Presti, Billy Donovan, Clay Bennett, Berry Tramel, WWLS, his teammates, and this city on his back and carried them as far as he could. The problem is none of the people around him I just mentioned performed their various jobs as well as Westbrook did for 87 basketball games this season.

Here’s the most telling thing about this series in hindsight. At the trade deadline, Daryl Morey added Lou Williams to his team as a backup point guard, whereas Sam Presti picked up Norris Cole from China. Seriously, think about just that before you try and figure out why OKC wasn’t good enough to go beyond five games in this series.

Think about this as well, Morey went out and got Mike D’Antoni to coach this Rocket team and taylor it to James Harden, whereas Sam Presti fired Scott Brooks to bring on board a college coach with no previous NBA coaching experience. And right here in these two paragraphs is a major part to why Houston is advancing and the Thunder’s season is done.

And it’s funny to date I haven’t read anything by Berry Tramel on any of this because if he wrote anything truthful like this his wormy ass would probably be taking some major heat.

The thing is, without Westbrook, this team would have won something like maybe 22-24 games. And without Westbrook, the writers at the Daily Oklahoman and the pundits at WWLS would have had very little to write about or talk about other than why Baker Mayfield has gotten two major character passes from the local media and an enormous video pass by the Daily Oklahoman, and yet somehow Westbrook is a bad dude because he thinks Tramel is a phony. Let’s at this point call me the objective adult in the room.

Now, let’s go back to that question Tramel asked of Steven Adams. In essence, why do the Thunder play so poorly when Russell’s not on the floor?

And here’s the answer… ‘We’re not very good. That’s the answer, mate. Russell is all we’ve got. Myself and Victor for whatever reasons massively underachieved offensively. My mate, Enes, is an acute defensive liability who not’s playable against either the Rockets or the Warriors. And Andre can’t hit the rim with a free throw. Dude, we weren’t good enough. That’s it, mate.”

In a nutshell, that’s pretty much it. Sam Presti didn’t put enough around Westbrook and Billy Donovan had a very rough bench management series against the Rockets.

That’s it. Those are the answers to this season of basketball in Oklahoma City. That’s what Russell Westbrook didn’t allow Steven Adams to say.

As a fan and a blogger, I was completely captivated by Westbrook and his historic season. Without Westbrook, I can’t imagine what I would have even written about on here. Me, I was coming off a summer where my father passed away from pancreatic cancer in late August. It was tough. My father and I actually attended Game 6 together. It was the last sporting event my father attended. I’ll never forget my father’s reaction to Durant’s decision on July 4th. Good thing for Kevin Durant he didn’t have to meet with my father the tough ass trial lawyer in the aftermath. It would have been brutal, truly brutal.

But Westbrook hung around and signed the extension. He didn’t have to do it, but he did and as a result we all got something truly special to be a part of and enjoy as a city. Something to get our minds off the tragic death of Aubrey McClendon. Something to get our minds off the reality of $50 dollar West Texas crude prices. Something our city and state could rally around. And that’s the beauty of sport in that it can bring people together.

So, as I sit here winding this up, I want to make sure Russell Westbrook understands how much this blogger appreciated the ride. It was wonderful and I know you and you’re wife have a son on the way. You’ll love the journey.

Have a nice summer, Russell Westbrook…and thanks.

For Berry Tramel, dude this is for you. You should be better than this by now. Seriously. Grow up. The world could use another adult.

Berry Tramel on the Dan Patrick Show

This was interesting. Oh, big surprise after Berry Tramel once again injected himself into a Thunder story on somewhat of a national scale—here he is doing the Dan Patrick Show yesterday describing in chilling narrative how Westbrook is an intimidating control freak. Keep in mind, this is the very same Berry Tramel who injected himself into the national spotlight several years ago during a playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies when he wrote a story about Kevin Durant calling him Mr. Unreliable. The Durant Camp was furious and demanded an apology—and I believe got one of sorts. Also, keep in mind, this is the very same Berry Tramel who called Kevin Durant a douchebag as recently as this past September or so. Pretty much like I did.

So please understand this, I could care less what Berry Tramel thinks about a multitude of subjects. I once heard him say George W Bush is the greatest president of all-time in U.S. history, so kind of right there and then that kind of sent up a red flag for me. This is the same Berry Tramel who when he was sports editor hired Jenni Carlson as a sports columnist. Sigh. So–it’s not like I put a tremendous amount of value on what he thinks. But here we are again with Berry Tramel injecting himself as the story during a playoff series instead of the teams, the players, and the coaches.

I have news for Berry Tramel, LeBron James appears to be a bit of a control freak. Michael Jordan perhaps was a bit of a control freak. Kobe Bryant was a control freak. Judging by Dwayne Wade’s exit from Miami–he might be a bit of a control freak. Gregg Popovich might be a control freak. Generally speaking, strong willed, strong personality types have strong demeanors. However, I agree with Tramel on one thing in that I don’t think Durant is a control freak. Far from it, I think Durant is somewhat of a personality type who just seeks affirmation and is kind of insecure about himself in a way…almost the polar opposite of Westbrook.

So—I just hope Berry Tramel is okay and not in need of medication or some off time in light of how Russell abused him in that Sunday presser. Pray for Berry Tramel today if you can. He needs your love.

Random Game 4 Thoughts

I’m better now. A good night’s sleep will do that for you. No seething. I picked Houston to win this series in either five or six games, five looks more likely right now, so it’s not like I’m sitting here shocked by where we are headed into Tuesday night in Houston.

The reason I picked Houston is because I think they have a better overall top eight players than OKC, because I believe Mike D’Antoni is a more ‘seasoned’ NBA coach than Bill Donovan, and of course Houston has home court advantage in the series. Plus, again back to the 115 number thing, I thought this would be almost as tough of a matchup for OKC as playing the Golden State Warriors because like the Warriors, the Rockets are a team of shooters who almost always at some point in a game go on a spurt or two.

The math at this point agrees with me, OKC is now a combined 2-10 versus the Rockets and Warriors this basketball season. These are the two worst matchups for the Thunder simply because of the manner in which Sam Presti has constructed this ball team. This is not a team constructed to beat either the Warriors or the Rockets. Against the rest of the league, OKC would pretty much have a chance, maybe even against LeBron, but not against these two teams.

But having written that, the last three games have all been nailbiters, and OKC could have won all three with perhaps a different approach to the backup point guard position and those minutes when Westbrook isn’t on the floor. In that regard, Tramel’s question was fair, but the person to ask that question of is either Billy Donovan or Sam Presti, not Steven Adams with Russell Westbrook sitting next to him.

I think it’s a very fair question, Tramel just asked the wrong witness so to speak. But if you watch the Donovan presser, Tramel asked it there and then so I agree with Westbrook in that Tramel was fishing for a response on the national stage. The response Westbrook gave confirmed how much Russell Westbrook has grown as a young man since he told Tramel he didn’t like him back in 2013. I’m sure the two Grumpy Old Men– Tramel and Traber– will ravage Westbrook on WWLS later today, but that’s their call and their show. Personally— I think they should be much more focused on Baker Mayfield’s antics, but it’s their show.

Billy Donovan has had a tough series bench management wise. This backup point guard issue has been there all season, not just this series. I assumed once we got to the playoffs the North Edmond Youth Soccer League coaching philosophy would take a backseat to big boy ball. I assumed Billy Donovan would roll with nine players and have either Westbrook or Oladipo manning the point guard minutes. It never crossed my mind he would actually flow with Semaj Christon for the first two games, but that’s exactly what he did and then he did it again with Norris Cole. There’s a reason Norris Cole was playing in China, know what I mean. And there’s a reason Semaj Christon has been in street clothes the past two games.

The Andre Roberson free throw shooting thing hurt me to watch because I like Roberson as a player other than the fact he can’t shoot free throws. He’s 2-17 in this series from the line. Even DeAndre Jordan doesn’t do that. But I’m not going to rip Roberson, he shouldn’t have been put in that situation. That’s why you have a coach…and coaches have to make tough calls in various settings based on what’s best for their teams. I was actually surprised D’Antoni didn’t do this in Games 2 & 3, but this was the pivotal game in the series and D’Antoni did exactly what he should have done…the best thing for his ball club.

I don’t want to rip on the Thunder for the simple reason they went 47-35 this basketball season. They represented this city with class and have given us as fans a reason to be excited about the team and the future if Westbrook decides to stay. But if Westbrook does stay, Sam Presti has some work to be done in tooling this team to be more competitive with Golden State and Houston. Billy Donovan needs to become more of a pro coach than a college coach. OKC has some things to address. But if Westbrook stays, the future is promising and interesting for sure.

But for now, it’s Game 5 in Houston on Tuesday night as the Thunder tries to avoid having their first season without Durant ended by James Harden and Company. It felt odd writing that sentence.