So….You’d Like to Be Caligula’s Secretary of State

I was raised by a trial lawyer in part. I watched this part of the hearing where lawyer Bob Menendez questioned the successor to Rex Tillerson as something the United States used to call their Secretary of State.

It was embarrassing for Mike Pompeo. There was nothing he could do. There’s nothing Sec Def Bulldog Mattis can do. There’s nothing General John Kelly can do unless you decide to quit and discontinue lying on behalf of Donald Trump.

It’s not like these were Perry Mason questions. Any first week first semester law school student would have asked them.

It’s all so embarrassing.

Welcome to the Banana Republic. But I guess we should be grateful in that Scott Pruitt wasn’t elevated to Attorney General.

Should Putin Challenge Trump for the 2020 GOP Nomination?

Well, of course, I guess he can’t given that he’s a former KGB agent and president of Russia. But in a way, this is the Republican Party of Putin circa 2018.

Stunning when you think this is the same party which gave us Lincoln. Gave us Teddy Roosevelt. Gave up Ronald Reagan winning the Cold War.

Stunning how history in two short years has gone from Lincoln-Roosevelt-Reagan into a collection of people who look like the characters in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs movie.

It is what it is.

So, yeah, given what the defenders of Trump are still saying… why not Putin in 2020 winning the American presidency?

This would be the video for the first ad.

Presti Trades Carmelo to Atlanta for Dennis Schroder

Given the situation with Carmelo, this is a fairly decent ending as far as I’m concerned. OKC gets rid of the elephant in the locker room and will save itself around $100 million dollars without having to stretch Carmelo’s $27 million over three years.

But more importantly OKC gets a talented guard in Schroder who if he will embrace the Sixth Man role could genuinely help the Thunder.

When I think of Schroder’s game I immediately think of Reggie Jackson. Two players who can get to the rim and score the ball. I do not think of either as premier starting point guards for contending teams in this league.

OKC has a premier starting point guard—his name is Russell Westbrook. What this Thunder team needs is for a guard like Shroder who averaged just over 19 points a game last season to come off the bench and score the ball. This also makes the Thunder much faster. This also gives Billy Donovan the opportunity to develop sets with Westbrook, Paul George, and Schroder all together on the floor.

I’m thinking 28-30 minutes a game for Schroder if he embraces this role in Oklahoma City. I’m thinking he would clearly have a chance to be one of OKC’s six best players who could fill a role which has been empty since Reggie Jackson was traded to the Detroit Pistons.

So if you had to pick between Reggie Jackson, Dion Waiters, and Dennis Schroder as your Sixth Man…I’m thinking Shroder and Jackson are about the same with Waiters being better on the defensive side of the game.

To me, this was very simple, Carmelo is too old and too slow to play with the greyhounds Sam Presti has on his roster. Never again will we see the Thunder wait for Carmelo to lumber up the floor and run an awkward offensive set geared to get Carmelo a touch.

The Hawks will waive Carmelo and someone in Houston, LA, or Miami will eventually pick him up. Good luck, Carmelo.

It was a horrible situation, but given the options, this is interesting. This gives the Thunder a chance to become a better basketball team and save a $100 million dollars.

If Schroder can score 19 points a game and not turn over the ball the Thunder just completed their team makeover which in reality started on July 5th, 2016.

And, in essence, that’s precisely what has happened these past two years as Sam Presti has remade his team in Oklahoma City after Durant’s departure to Golden State.

Say what you want, but I would give Presti an A for the manner in which he put a team around Russell Westbrook which should have a chance to win around 50 games this season if Billy Donovan can connect the dots as an NBA head coach.

Fantastic summer for one Sam Presti. He’s done everything I’ve asked for as a rogue Thunder blogger with the exception of getting Brian Davis out of the Thunder broadcast booth.

This isn’t cruel. Put Matt Pinto in the booth and re-assign Brian Davis as the sideline reporter and put Leslie Mac with Antonio on the post game show. Nobody has to be fired. Nobody has to be a grinch.

Anyway, it’s a good sign for me when that’s the only thing I can bitch about heading into August.

On a sidenote, as a Philly fan, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot never made an impression on me one way or another. A bit of a project, but clearly an athlete with fluidity and speed. Maybe they can turn him into another Thabo—although I guess he was Swiss. Here’s the thing though, he was the 24th player selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. So, in essence–Presti is already hedging on the 2022 conditional first round pick he just gave up to make today’s trade. Watching this dude is like reading a Michael Lewis book on commodity values. He’s always thinking two moves ahead. I think he has a history degree as well.

Will Jordan Spieth Successfully Defend His British Open Championship?

The third leg of golf’s Grand Slam begins in less than an hour with the beginning of the 147th British Open.

And what a glorious Grand Slam it has been so far this golf season with Patrick Reed holding off Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth with some of the grittiest golf ever displayed at Augusta National.

Then the U.S. Open where Brooks Keopka overtook Dustin Johnson with a win which puts him in elite company as one of the game’s current greats.

Jordan Spieth has struggled a bit this season with the putter. Yet, since 2015, he has been golf’s pre-eminent player in golf’s major events. Since 2015–Spieth has the lowest aggregate score in the majors. And put this on your data card…he’s one putted 360 times in the majors since 2015.

Spieth is a bulldog. A champion’s champion. I’m not picking him to win, but I wouldn’t discount it either.

I love the British Open. I truly do.

I’m going in this order with my picks:

1 Tommy Fleetwood, 2 Rickie Fowler, 3 Patrick Reed, and 4 Jordan Spieth.

Spurs Trade Kawhi Leonard for DeRozan

It appears the Kawhi Leonard saga is over in San Antonio. Reports have Leonard going to the Raptors with his expiring contract for DeMar DeRozan who has three years remaining on his current deal with a player option in the third year going to the Spurs.

Unlike Little Rush Limbaugh Jr/ Jim Traber…I love Popovich and he’s the NBA coach I’d most want to play for. We both have history degrees. We’re both Anthony Bourdain foodies. He served in the Air Force and both of my father-in-laws were career Air Force. So—in a way thru them…like Pop I’m an Air Force guy who hates Trump.

The Spurs had no choice. They had to get an All-Star caliber player for Leonard. I have no idea if Leonard stays in Toronto, but he will quickly realize he was just traded to the coolest city in the NBA. My guess is he will love it in Toronto.

DeRozan was a USC guy and probably isn’t thrilled to be moving to a Trump hard red state place like San Antonio, but I’m going to guess Pop pushes the right buttons and things turn out decent in San Antonio.

So…with this trade I would probably put the Spurs and the Thunder in a dead heat to battle for either fourth or fifth in the West.

I’m happy for Pop. I was worried about him. He had a rough year.

The Lowest Point in U.S. Presidential History in My Lifetime

I’m not going to litter too much on my blog on Donald Trump. I’m not going to gloat either because yesterday and last week were possibly the lowest moments in U.S. presidential history.

Even worse than Nixon’s disgraceful exit from office.

What we have is a president who has pretty much openly committed treason, perjury, and obstruction of justice—and yet his party does nothing.

There is no Howard Baker as I see it on the horizon on the cusp of telling Donald Trump to his face he is unfit for the office.

Mitt Romney might want to revise his 47% comments from 2012. What Romney would need to say in circa 2018 is that 47% of the people who are members of the GOP shouldn’t be allowed to vote in national elections and compromise the national security of the United States.

The scary thing is Mike Pence’s comments yesterday were even more clueless than those of Donald Trump.

Can any honest person discount what would be said by these 47% if Barack Obama had done what Donald Trump did yesterday in Helsinki?

Sam Presti Needs Another Player

A great week-end for the OKC Thunder, but the truth of the matter is after spending nearly $300 million dollars this team is probably around a four or five seed in the West. If you’re going to spend that kind of money you better be prepared for LeBron and Kawhi in LA and the Warriors never standing pat.

It makes no sense to put that money in the pot and not even be the favorite to win the Northwest Division. We know where the Lakers are going. We know the Warriors just added DeMarcus Cousins. But on a positive note the Rockets lost Trevor Ariza.

Here’s the simple truth, Sam Presti needs another really good player and I don’t mean Nerlen Noels. A difference maker. Preferably.. a hybrid guard who’ll be the Sixth Man.

Eric Gordon would be good. Marcus Smart could possibly help this team or so could several other Boston players.

I’m assuming Sam Presti has another move coming.

Nerlen Noels University of Kentucky 6th player taken in 2013 draft

A Song Would Be Nice

You know, I was born in San Diego. My father was an officer on a mine sweeper and I very well could have been a Navy brat. But my father got accepted at Oklahoma City University’s Law School. The rest is history

So here I am a lifetime later.

So as a Californian—this is for all of us living in Oklahoma including Russell Westbrook and Paul George and others.

A song seems right two days before the Fourth of July.

Sam Presti Can Sleep Again

There’s still the Carmelo Anthony and Brian Davis matters to clean up, but otherwise Sam Presti has re-installed his mojo swagger as one of the better GM’s in the NBA.

Think about what has happened since Kevin Durant proclaimed Draymond Green as his basketball soulmate on the Player’s Tribune on July 4th, 2016.

Here’s what Sam Presti has done: he’s basically re-done the OKC Thunder on the fly without any first round draft picks other than the one used to draft Terrance Ferguson.

He got one of the NBA’s top five players in Russell Westbrook to ignore his LA roots and resign long-term in redneck Oklahoma.

Here’s the most amazing thing he did though. He traded Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo, Domas Sabonis, and Ersan Ilysova. Now think about what Presti did yesterday.

What he did was parlay Oladipo and Sabonis into a long-term commitment from another LA kid named Paul George.

What some won’t remember is that Presti converted Ilyasova into Jerami Grant. My take is that Presti traded Serge Ibaka for what are now OKC’s second and fourth best players on this season’s roster.

Pretty smart for a franchise located in a state with an educational system located near the bottom of the barrel and a state government more noted for it’s sense of inbred stupidity than achievement.

Who knows…maybe Mick Cornett will be elected governor and the state will move into the current century.

Sam Presti’s legacy is intact. Billy Donovan’s…we’ll see.

This may surprise some, but I think two of the most important players on this team will need to be Alex Abrines and Terrance Ferguson. These two dudes need to make the step up to big boy ball this season. If they do…. this Thunder team could you know maybe win the Northwest Division.

That’s my goal as a fan right now. Don’t talk shit to me about the Golden State Warriors. Beat Utah. Win the Northwest…and get Brain Davis away from Michael Cage so I never have to hear that shit again.

It was a good week to be a Thunder fan and Oklahoman.