Why You Should Root For the Oklahoma City Thunder

Submitted by Alex Cook on July 13th, 2015 at 2:50 PM

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SLAM Online

Checking in on Beilein’s NBA Wolverines --

[Seattleites, I’m so sorry – y’all should definitely root against the Thunder. Maybe you’ll get the Bucks soon.]

In terms of aggregate on-court production, Mitch McGary’s Michigan career was disappointing. Mostly through no fault of Mitch’s – injuries and a highly controversial* NCAA suspension effectively ended his Wolverine career after the magical run to the national championship game as a freshman. After coming along slowly throughout the regular season (partially due to the presence of rock-steady Jordan Morgan) while showing glimpses of his absurdly singular enthusiasm, fluidity, and coordination, Mitch was a breakout star in the tournament: he averaged 14.3 points, and 10.7 rebounds (3.5 offensive, 7.2 defensive) while often looking like Michigan’s best player – even over national player of the year Trey Burke. Against VCU, he put up 21 points and 14 rebounds, only missing one shot; against Kansas, he thoroughly outplayed Jeff Withey—a senior center who’d won the Big XII DPOY award twice—to the tune of 25 and 14; he was critical in attacking Syracuse’s signature 2-3 zone and put up six assists and a points-rebounds double-double in a win. All as a freshman who’d played 8 minutes in Michigan’s regular season finale.

*read: insanely unlucky and totally bullshit

The basketball gods decided to smite him after he announced his intentions to return, and he only played eight games as a sophomore – never 30 minutes or more per game. The NCAA’s arbitrary bazooka of incompetence struck him down after landing on the “infantilizing and inefficient war on drugs crusade” tile and he pretty much wasn’t allowed to have a junior season.

So he entered the draft (he might’ve done so anyways) and the basketball gods decided to smile fondly on him again and nudged the Oklahoma City Thunder into taking him with their first round pick. Despite being snakebitten themselves over the last couple years, the Thunder—an organization known for its ability to discover and develop under-the-radar draft picks (like Serge Ibaka or Reggie Jackson)—are still a bona fide title contender and the best landing spot, by far, of any John Beilein product at Michigan.

* * *

win the game

They did win the game… on the road against third-ranked Michigan State

But even though Mitch was a great—elite, depending on if his health / conditioning cooperated—player at Michigan, that’s not why he ascended into Michigan hoops lore as a goofy cult hero.

An incomplete list of reasons as to why he did:

  • Because he’s the type of center who decides to pull a Rajon Rondo fake en route to a pick-six layup.


  • Because his bench celebration game was as strong as anyone else’s in the entire country (except for Andrew Dakich, potentially):

see also Tennessee

  • Because he’d dive all the way into Lake Michigan to save a ball in a blowout win at Northwestern:

  • Because he’d set bone-crushing screens like this.

[More on Mitch and his new team after THE JUMP]

* * *

Mitch’s je ne sais quoi stemmed from his personality—intense, demonstrative, and often hilarious on the court (and on the bench mob), not to mention his famous unicycling ability and newfound love of snakes off the court. In a way, he was sort of like Denard Robinson, though their evidently unbridled enthusiasm manifested itself differently – Denard’s aspect was spontaneous, happy, and almost incredulous, while Mitch was the consummate showman and ultimate hardo. They were both big men on campus in their own ways and both only offered tantalizing glimpses into a potential that was never fully unlocked in Ann Arbor.

To be fair to Mitch,* there were extenuating circumstances – he was injured as a sophomore and effectively exiled afterwards. We didn’t get to see if he could fulfill the First-Team All-American hype entering his sophomore season and we didn’t get to see if he could ultimately make good on his stated intention to bring a national championship to Ann Arbor (an intention that was stated after Michigan was an 8-seed the year prior). He came extremely close as a freshman and wasn’t given a chance to push a very good team over the top as a sophomore. That’s just the way it is. As for the weed thing – Mitch himself said “the NCAA is a little harsh with it’s penalties, I don’t think the penalty fit the crime…it happens, hopefully kids can learn from it” – before adding “just don’t get caught.” When the reaction to Garrick Sherman’s claim to have taken drug tests for Durrell Summers was met with mild amusement, it’s pretty hard to blame Mitch for getting suspended for a whole YEAR for marijuana use.

*And to poor Denard, who was blighted with Al Borges for 2/3 seasons as a starter.

Mitch’s college game was best described by this DraftExpress video after his freshman season. Two of his strengths are classic white player compliments – “motor & energy” and “basketball IQ” – are straight out of the Aaron Craft lexicon; two other strengths – physicality and mobility – were what made him a top tier prospect during the fall of his senior year of high school when he committed to Michigan. Quite simply, when he was in shape and in form, he was a rare college player to jump off the screen like he did. Though he wasn’t a leaper and his wingspan wasn’t extraordinary, his combination of quickness, creativity, strength, and rebounding ability were everything you could ask of a college five. At his peak, he was the best Michigan big man since Chris Webber (a forerunner, in terms of style as a versatile five) and Juwan Howard patrolled the paint in the House that Cazzie Built.

webber howard


At the time of his commitment, McGary’s only comparably-touted Wolverines were Webber, Jerod Ward, and Howard. He’ll certainly be less impactful than the two members of the Fab Five were, but he’s already fulfilled more of his potential than Ward ever did. In college, McGary – despite his flaws (DX’s two college concerns were his post game and shooting stroke) – was the clear second-best player on a team that was a few possessions from winning the national championship.

In the end, Mitch McGary was a program-changing player, but only for a few weeks. If the rest of his time at Michigan can be explained away – poor conditioning, nagging (or season-ending) injuries, an unjust suspension – it’s tough to think of what could have been; if not, it was one of the most timely runs of form in UM history. Either way, Mitch was a key figure in Michigan’s renaissance as a program: as a recruit who chose Michigan over teams like Duke, Florida, and Kentucky; as a dominant force anchoring Beilein’s devastating 4-out offense – the best offenses in the nation; as a flashy big man with unconventional skills – leading the break as a point-center, for example, a joy which is best described by UM professor Yago Colas; as a fan favorite during a time when basketball had more success than the football team and was much more enjoyable for Michigan fans to follow.

* * *

...and we can still watch Mitch play in the NBA. In the last week, he played four games in Orlando with OKC’s SL team (essentially training camp for young players and NBA hopefuls), averaging 12 points on 57% shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and an assist and a block per game. Summer League games must be taken with a grain of salt, but from a scouting perspective, he looked good – he’s had problems with weight in the past but he looks in great shape and has improved his jumper. He won’t start, but he’ll be a part of the Thunder rotation come October.

kd russ


My grandfather is a native Oklahoman who’s lived there for decades now (and currently likes in Oklahoma City), my mom went to high school in OKC, and I’ve been following them intently as one of my adopted teams. Needless to say, their success and star power has made them easy to root for. I went to a game over Christmas Break last season – Kevin Durant was injured, but Russell Westbrook dropped 29 points in an easy blowout over Charlotte.


KEVIN DURANT – KD, the “Slim Reaper,” is your NBA superstar alternative to LeBron James (who’s a well-documented Ohio State fanboy). Blessed with an unbelievable combination of length and ball-handling, he’s a revolutionary player – his shooting (spot-up or off the dribble) and scoring ability makes him into a generational talent. He averaged 25, 7 and 4 in an injury-riddled season; he appeared in just 1/3 of OKC’s games and played 34 minutes per game, his fewest in a Thunder uniform. The year before, he led the league in points (32.0 ppg) and won MVP; the year before that, he shot 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the line, a rare statistical feat.

Durant’s coming off of a foot injury, foot injuries to tall people are potentially debilitating, and he may have his eyes on heading home to OKC when he hits free agency next summer. Still, OKC has player who may be hitting his peak right before LeBron exits his prime and right before Anthony Davis enters his. He’ll keep Oklahoma City in contention.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK – Russ is pretty much pure, unfiltered basketball cocaine: if Steph Curry is a lithe magician, a little hoops Messi (though basketball, unlike soccer, doesn’t accommodate small players with supernatural skills as well), Russell is the alternative – a destroyer god hell-bent on attacking the rim with unparalleled ferocity and anger. Last year, mostly without Durant, he put up 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists per game; there have only been 16 triple-doubles with at least 40 points in NBA history – Russell is tied for the most with Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and LeBron and his came within a six week span last winter.

Westbrook was necessarily an extremely high usage scorer with iffy efficiency, a tenacious rebounder, and a willing distributor with well above-average passing vision. He wasn’t able to carry an Oklahoma City team ravaged by injuries into the playoffs, but he’s still easily within the top ten players in the league, an individual highlight machine with a hyper-intense personality. While outwardly sullen, he’s actually a nice guy.

ibaka lebron

SERGE IBAKA – Serge, a Congolese four, is a terrifying 3-and-D prototype: he led the NBA in blocks per game for two seasons (‘12, ‘13), then finished 2nd behind Anthony Davis (‘14) and 3rd behind Davis and Hassan Whiteside (‘15). Ibaka shot 38% threes on 3.2 attempts per game, becoming a legit spacing threat on the offensive end. His true value will always be derived from his rim protection ability on defense – as long as his athleticism holds up (and he’s only 25) – but he’s becoming incredibly useful as a dynamic “positionless” player who augments Kevin and Russ.

It’s easy to see certain lineups in which Ibaka, at 6’10, can play the five alongside Durant (or Kyle Singler) and he’s a natural fit at the four alongside one of Oklahoma City’s many centers. It will be interesting to see how he develops – adding a jump shot was extremely impressive – and he’s an incredibly easy player to pull for. Of the power forwards in the loaded Western Conference (Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Zach Randolph, Dirk Nowitzki), Ibaka falls into the 3-5 range.

ENES KANTER, STEVEN ADAMS, and NICK COLLISON – The rest of Oklahoma City’s frontcourt (aside from McGary). Each of the three bring unique skill-sets and varied backstories: it was announced last night that OKC matched Portland’s offer sheet and will likely be singing Kanter to a four year $70M deal. The “Turkish Turnstile” had an acrimonious split from Utah last season and the Jazz actually got better without him because of his especially poor defending. Kanter is still just 23 and tallied 11 20-10 games with Oklahoma City after the trade, but those feel like empty calories when considering everything he does (or rather, doesn’t) bring to the table.

Adams played against Michigan in 2013 (and didn’t record a point) in a one-year stopover at Pitt before getting drafted in the lottery – he just turned 21 and has shown that he can rebound and defend at a decent level; Collison is one of only two former SuperSonics on the roster and has played throughout his career as a analytics-friendly bench guy.

He’s a, a legend in his own mind…

DION WAITERS – The erstwhile Cleveland Cavalier and former #4 overall pick is a fascinating player. He was certainly part of the reason why the Cavs underwhelmed so much that they could afford to trade for Kevin Love with two former #1 overall picks, and there might not be a player with more self-perceived ability relative to how well he actually plays. Vines and montages of Waiters Island, parked away in the corner, barking for the ball and waving his arms like those inflatable tube ads, is high NBA art. If his superstar teammate deigns to give him the ball, instead of shooting it right away, he’d catch it, stop the ball for a little while, and then step back into a ghastly long two or drive with an array of aimless dribble moves before biffing a layup. Dion Waiters: a sideshow who’s pretty much not very good, but usually entertaining. Think a less funny Nick “Swaggy P” Young. Dion Waiters: a legend in his own mind.

ANTHONY MORROW and ANDRE ROBERSON – If it’s easy to imagine a tentative depth chart (Russell, ____, Kevin, Serge, Kanter / Mitch / Adams), the shooting guard will either be Waiters – who’s probably best in a sixth man role – or one of these two: at the risk of being overly reductive, the two are separate parts of the 3-and-D prototype – Morrow is a journeyman who shoots 43% from three over his career; Roberson is a rangy stopper without much offensive skill (sort of like a Branden Dawson type). OKC likes to start Roberson next to Durant and put Morrow with the bench to add spacing, but they’re effectively interchangeable.

KYLE SINGLER and D.J. AUGUSTIN – Oklahoma City didn’t want to pay Reggie Jackson his money, so they replaced him with Waiters and traded him to Detroit. In return, the Thunder acquired Augustin and Singler, two players who would theoretically be better in OKC than they were as Pistons. Both will be rotation players next year. Augustin will probably be relegated to the third-string after the Thunder used a lottery pick on another point guard. Singler was given a 5-year deal, evidence that OKC values his career 38% shooting from behind the arc, at least in a bench role (the contract was for just $5M / year, far less than starting-caliber wings).

CAMERON PAYNE – The aforementioned draft pick couldn’t play in the summer league because of a broken finger, so we haven’t seen much of him yet. Nobody’s seen much of him anywhere, as he was an underclassman PG from Murray St. (who didn’t play in the NCAA Tournament). I saw just one game of him, but he was pretty much a one-man show for the Racers – a big, playmaking lead guard. He led the OVC in assist rate and shot rate, was fourth in efficiency, and ninth in minutes. Payne shot 56.7 TS% but had an offensive rating of 75 in just three games against top 50 teams. It’s hard to project how much he’ll play or in what role, but he can play next to Westbrook if the Thunder would prefer Russ to play a role like Dwyane Wade’s in his prime.

JAMES HARDEN – Dammit! But another story for another day.

KENDRICK PERKINS – Hallelujah! But another story for another day.

stauskas florida

New OKC head coach Billy Donovan should’ve game-planned for this guy. (USA Today)

BILLY DONOVAN – After an illustrious career as Florida’s head coach (2 national championships, 4 Final Fours, 7 Elite Eights (cough, Michigan opened the game against ‘13 Florida, then-#1 in Kenpom, with a 13 point lead in an eventual rout), 6 SEC titles, 4 SEC Tournament titles, and nine first-round draft picks in 19 years in Gainesville), Billy Donovan replaced Scott Brooks as head coach. Last year, as OKC stumbled and missed the playoffs, Donovan was having a Michigan-like season (they finished 16-17), after having been to three straight Elite Eights with the same core. It was his worst year since ‘97, but the Gators are in good shape for the future.

Now, without ever having coached in the league, he’s expected to carry OKC deep into the playoffs. Some think the Thunder’s window is rapidly closing with Durant’s free agency next summer and Westbrook’s the summer after that; Donovan should be a short-term upgrade over Brooks, but as to how much of an upgrade that will be is anyone’s guess. Oklahoma City generally developed prospects well under Brooks, but a lack of creativity on offense, puzzling lineup decisions, an absurd devotion to Kendrick Perkins, and ultimately an inability to maximize OKC’s young core did him in.

From a strategic standpoint, the payoff could be massive. Two years ago, Golden State was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs and after changing head coaches from the poisonous Mark Jackson to Steve Kerr, they were maybe the best team in the last decade. The jump likely won’t be the same for the Thunder, but if Durant and Westbrook mesh well with Donovan, they’ll be playing in the best system they’ve ever been in, at the college level – Durant played for Rick Barnes at Texas and Westbrook was a UCLA Bruin under Ben Howland – or as pros. Donovan has the offensive savvy to make things work and, if chemistry is not an issue, OKC’s a title contender.

Interestingly, Mitch McGary is now being coached by Billy Donovan after spurning he and the Gators to attend Michigan after having them in his top three. And McGary’s Wolverines routed those Gators in 2013.

* * *

Mitch giving former CMU Chippewa Chris Kaman some problems

Mitch destroying the Clippers' crappy backup bigs / flexing with Russ after converting an and-one after the game was pretty much over

Grantland makes a joke.

And now Mitch is part of the story of the Oklahoma City Thunder, one of the most compelling franchise narratives in the NBA. And, surprise, they love Mitch:

When the Thunder selected Mitch McGary with the 21st overall pick in last year’s draft, few knew who he was or what he could be.

But even in an injury-plagued first season, McGary quickly made a name for himself.

The bruising power forward out of Michigan established himself as a fan favorite for his energy and passion and showed he could soon be a double-double machine. (Mayberry, NewsOK)

He and Kevin rehabbed together. Mitch looked happier than Kev did. This awesome article from last fall showed that he was fitting in nicely:

So it’s no surprise that, when he returned to Oklahoma City this past weekend, Durant made his way to the gym to get some shots up. A normal instance in Thunderland.

But awaiting Durant this time was his new and enthusiastic teammate, Mitch McGary, there to cheer him on with an infectious smile that never leaves his face.

“He was on the other side of the court, screaming: ‘Good shot, Kev!’” Durant said, shaking his head in delight. “I’m thinking, this guy’s an All-American type of teammate right there.”

“I love Mitch,” Durant said. “I love everything he brings to the table.”

And he’s not afraid to cheer on his teammates or throw out a genuine compliment every once in a while. Like when he and Collison passed each other during Media Day and McGary stopped, turned and let Collison know: “Your hair looks good, man.”

Those quotes are pretty much peak Mitch.

"Nice hair, dweeb.

IF YOU WANT TO GET REALLY UPSET, here’s Mitch’s highlights in his D-League games rehabbing from injury. The D-League has far more talent than, say, the Big Ten, and this may have been what Mitch was doing in Crisler if not for the NCAA’s reefer madness:

Where’s Garrick Sherman when you actually need him?

* * *

kev and mitch

To wrap things up, here are the stakes: OKC is one of the four best teams in the NBA (Golden State, Cleveland, San Antonio) and with their franchise player entering free agency next summer, there’s a sense of urgency within the organization. OKC’s championship widow has thus far been limited with injuries and, if Durant is to stay, they’ll have to show some title contending acumen in their first year under Donovan. The Thunder are as deep as they’ve ever been, far deeper than when their bench lineups would get routinely destroyed in the playoffs. It’s not hard to envision them as capable of having a top 5 offense and defense next year, on top of having a legit MVP contender and another possible first-team All-NBA guy. Rekindling your Mitch McGary fandom would also be picking an elite NBA team to root for. Win-win!

As for Mitch, it will be interesting to see his role. I like him best as an NBA five and, next to Ibaka, he’d be able to shine in a four-out system much like he did against Michigan. I don’t know if he’ll start over Kanter, but I’m much more confident in Billy Donovan’s ability to make savvy personnel decisions than I was in Scott Brooks. Either way, he’ll be in the rotation, and I’m hoping to be able to watch him and the Thunder well into next June.



July 13th, 2015 at 3:20 PM ^

Sorry. As a resident of Seattle area for over two decades, how NBA stole Sonics is one of the greatest injustice in sports history. I love Michigan players, but I can never root for the Zombie Sonics.


July 14th, 2015 at 6:37 AM ^

OKC is the Buffalo Bill of the NBA.  It puts the money in the basket or else it loses its franchise again.

What I won't do is hold it against the players, though.  For them, it's basically a follow-or-fire business relocation some of us are familiar with.  So I'm stuck in a weird situation of rooting for the individuals (Durant, Ibaka, Westbrook, McGary) but wanting the team to lose.


July 13th, 2015 at 3:35 PM ^

I assumed he was a one-and-done (and he should have been) so I'll take the production we got (final four) and call it a resounding success. The disappointing sophomore year outcome (for Mitch) doesn't change that.


July 13th, 2015 at 3:53 PM ^

highly disputable, and I'd put the Clips and Rockets about the Thunder in NBA power rankings right now.

The Thunder are mostly a likeable team, depending on your views of Westbrook (i.e., your tolerance for brash behavior and a hyper aggressive "scorers mentality") but they lose significant points for really bungling player decisions since the Harden trade and especially for tolerating and acquiring me-first guys like Jackson, Waiters, and Kanter.  They could use a few more Adams' and McGary's in their backcourt - maybe Payne will be that guy.  Plus, it's hard to get over what could have been had they built around the Harden-Durant-Ibaka core instead, moved on from Brooks and Perkins earlier, etc.

I'll be rooting for them because of Mitch but I'll also be rooting for Trey and the Jazz (Gobert is a fun guy to watch and they have a lot of youth), Tim Hardaway Jr (and maybe GR3?) on Spurs East, and Nik Stauskas (and his new team) to take a step in the right direction in 2015.

Good work as always Alex.

Alex Cook

July 13th, 2015 at 4:17 PM ^

I don't see it. DeAndre Jordan is vastly overrated and Kev + Russ > CP3 + Blake. Add in the Clippers' terrible bench, the baffling addition of Lance Stephenson, and them playing the corpse of Paul Pierce 35 minutes a night... I'm just not convinced. As for Houston, I think they're way, way thinner past Harden and Howard than any other contender is. I don't think OKC's player moves have been bad after they dumped Harden, but that move itself is bad enough to color every move for the next decade plus.

Appreciate the kind words.


July 13th, 2015 at 5:07 PM ^

Jordan is an impact defender and an elite pick and roll threat. I think the question there remains fit beside Griffin - a concern that seems to be a disappearing issue with Blake expanding his game. Pierce and Stephenson give them more lineup versatility and potential for a small-ball closing lineup without Jordan.  Adding those two (while losing only Barnes and Hawes) means they should be even better next year, a team that beat the Spurs and could/should have won the west. I think Pierce proved he's far from toast. If you're baffled by Stephenson you should rewatch what a force he was with Indiana.  As a complementary player around the Clips all-stars he's a great fit - especially if Rivers can get him to embrace a defensive stopper role (like he did with Jordan).

You also have to consider the Thunder have a rookie head coach -yes I know about this years finals but a) they were pretty flukey and b) Donovan's been purely a college guy/Pitino disciple. Also their bench is very young.  Not many teams are going to win a conference championship when rookies and 2nd year guys playing such significant bench roles.  Kanter is a nice gamble and all (they've needed a post scorer for years) but he's so bad on defense.  Augustin too.  These are the kind of one-way players who tend to get exploited in 7 game series.

The Thunder didn't get enough for Harden and never made it work with decent replacement pieces (Sefolosha, Martin). They let the Jackson situation fester and got nothing in return for a guy now getting paid a MAX salary (almost).  Waiters was a worthwhile gamble but didn't pay off.  Singler is not actually good at shooting for a guy whose purported job is to shoot. They would have been better of getting Shumpert and Smith instead (for Jackson) as an example. They kept Perkins for WAY to long instead of waiving him.  The Thunder have an elite big 3 but the supporting cast is not very good. I like Adams, I like McGary, but they have a whole in their starting lineup at 2G and a weak bench overall.  They've prized youth and long-term sustainability over taking a big shot and it's cost them.

Houston over OKC is more up for dispute I suppose, but don't forget they lost their starting PG and PF to injury and STILL made the western finals. I'm also a big fan of their draft choices (not that it matters much for next year, but they could be trade chips for Morey.)  Rockets big 3 isn't as good as the Thunder, but they are a lot more aggressive in embracing change and have a lot more trade chips to work with  Keep in mind they churned through a ton of complementary roster pieces during the season. There's a lot of potential here to consolidate assets and stabilize the supporting cast leading up to a playoff run.

Thunder are a legit contender, but they are clearly a on the bottom of that group.




July 13th, 2015 at 5:26 PM ^

I saw a stat recently that said their four-man group of Redick, Paul, Jordan, and Blake had the highest net PER or some other advanced stat of any group in the NBA. Pierce isn't playing 35 mpg until the playoffs. They choked against Houston in game 5, but they'll learn from that or implode. The Pistons had to get by the Celtics and the Bulls had to get by the Pistons. Somehow, the Warriors avoided the learning process (Steve Kerr >>>>> Mark Jackson? Yes, definitely yes.)


July 13th, 2015 at 6:31 PM ^

Westbrook is great and fun to watch but he desperately needs a coach who will actually punish him when he does something stupid like shoot a 39 footer 4 seconds into the shot clock. I think people are a bit too hard on him for immaturity when some of that is lax coaching. It's fine to chuck when that's your team's only hope, okc is too good for him to do that.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


July 13th, 2015 at 9:59 PM ^

before they drafted Mitch. I would love for them to win it all next season. One thing is for sure, unless the Clippers are in the finals, I'll be rooting from anyone from the West to defeat the Cavs.


July 14th, 2015 at 12:50 AM ^

Sorry.   I love Mitch and I wish him nothing but success.  But the head owner of the Thunder (Clay Bennett) is a f***ing a-hole scumbag liar of the highest order and I will NEVER root for a team owned by him to win anything.  I honestly wish OKC would lose every game about 150-20, with the 20 being all from Mitch of course. 

The crap Bennett pulled to steal the Sonics from Seattle is everything that is wrong with professional sports wrapped up into one neat little package, and is why you should NOT root for the Oklahoma City Thunder. 


July 14th, 2015 at 11:22 AM ^

For being a liar and a con-man?

If you believe the ends justify the means and that negotiating in complete bad-faith is legit then sure.

No doubt that Howard Schultz is an idiot for believing anything that a-hole Bennett ever said, but there are emails proving that Bennett intended to violate every provision of the Sonics deal before it was ever in place.  The deal stipulated that the team could only be moved if it wasn't economically viable to keep them in Seattle and in emails Bennett stated before he even bought the team that he would make sure that the team would never stay in Seattle.

There are people in the world that do things the right way, and then there are people like Clay Bennett.   If you have people like Clay Bennett in your life, you life sucks. 


July 14th, 2015 at 11:25 AM ^

For being a liar and a con-man?

If you believe the ends justify the means and that negotiating in complete bad-faith is legit then sure.

No doubt that Howard Schultz is an idiot for believing anything that a-hole Bennett ever said, but there are emails proving that Bennett intended to violate every provision of the Sonics deal before it was ever in place.  The deal stipulated that the team could only be moved if it wasn't economically viable to keep them in Seattle yet in emails Bennett stated before he even bought the team that he would make sure that the team would never stay in Seattle.  He essentially completely violated the terms of the deal before he even signed it.

There are people in the world that do things the right way, and then there are people like Clay Bennett.   If you have people like Clay Bennett in your life, your life sucks.