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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kobe Scores 40; Blunder Score 14th Loss!

In their first game back from a five game road swing, Kobe Bryant hung 40 on the Blunder in a sloppy 111 - 108 Laker victory. It was their 16th in 17 games. Six Lakers scored in double figures. No wonder they lead the NBA. The Zombie Sonics have never beaten the Lakers, ever, and have lost five of the last six games. No wonder their presence effectively reduces the value of the entire league. No one will even step up to offer sponsorship money to the Blunder arena. That's called supply and demand, folks. Supply = one team in the dustbowl; demand = zero.

With the loss, the Blunder maneuvered back into familiar waters: below .500. Not to worry, there's good news: Bennett leads the league in greediness, starting with the league's most expensive merchandise, led by their 'excellence' polo shirt. Let's examine the excellence, shall we? Sub .500 record, wretched uniforms, logo off a doritos bag, few sell-outs in thier first two seasons, downsized arena, arena deal expiring in 2014, fourth place. Hmmm. That's the opposite of excellent. They're the ANTI-excellent! Bennett's fat rolls spilling over his seat should complete the picture of epic failure and double as an appetite suppressant. Yay!

Let's enjoy some lowlights, kids...

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant had 30 points before fouling out with 91 second remaining. It was his first time fouling out in the NBA. He likely used the bench time to dream about leaving OKC and playing in a real market. Nick Collison had six fouls and one point in 12 minutes of 'playing' time. Durant led the team with six turnovers. The Lakers scored 24 second-chance points; the Blunder had six. More evidence the OKC/NBA experiment is failing. UCLA alum Russell Westbrook had 21 points, 13 assists and a technical foul when he threw the ball at the basket standard. It was later revealed it was a play designed by Clay Bennett.

Perhaps intimidation contributed to the loss. The LA crowd of 18,997 at Staples is far more than the Blunder are used to playing in front of, as OKC rarely sells out at home in Congressional Bailout Center. All those people and the indoor plumbing can be intimidating! Or it could've been the LA celebrity crowd; Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Diane Von Furstenburg, media titan Barry Diller, and figure skater Michelle Kwan were seen. OKC celeb crowds usually consist of Toby Keith's second cousin, Barry Switzers sweat sock and Garth Brooks' lanced boil. The presence of greatness like Kwan, likely threw their game off. Understandable.

Blunder: 13-14, Fourth place and falling, five losses in last six games.
Next Loss: Wednesday vs. Phoenix.
OKC tornado index: Imminent.

More Corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Unlucky 13: Blunder Rocket to 13th Loss!

Clay Bennett's Blunder enjoyed the familiar stench of defeat on Saturday as they fell to Houston 95-90. The once-storied rivalry has become pathetically one-sided under Bennett's 'leadership' as Houston won it's 13th straight over the Zombie Sonics. Houston hasn't lost to the Thunder since April 4, 2006, when the team was based in Seattle.

Magically, it was also the 13th loss for the Blunder, who are well on their way to another season of mediocrity in the NBA's smallest and dustiest market. They do lead the league in tornado warnings, however.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant had 13 points on 6 for 18 shooting and had zero foul shots. The road weary Rockets, playing their fourth game in five nights, and still without star center Yao Ming, were still no match for the Blunder. Durant has saved his lowest scoring games of the season for the Lone Star State, scoring only 12 against the Mavericks in a Wednesday loss and only 13 in the Rocket loss. Notice they were both losses. Get used to those, OKC.

And now, the lowlights! Nick "I miss Seattle" Collison had five fouls and four points in 18 minutes, Westbrook and Durant combined for a 10 for 32 shooting performance against the tired but still dominant Rockets. The Blunder also enjoyed a three-second violation.

The Blunder also enjoy the shortest arena lease in the league, set to expire in 2014. The escape clause is for less than 80% attendance. Not sure if it has to be paid attendance. Look for Durant to leave next season and the Blunder to relocate in 2014when the OKC Experiment proves to be a disaster. Also look for the Blunder to be asking for handouts from the NBA's welfare program as they are already operating in the red. Damn shame that is. You can still get a Blunder Excellence Polo on their website for $69 dollars. Nothing excellent about 13-13 or a $69 polo with a dorito on it.

Blunder: 13-13, 4th place and falling fast.
Next Loss: Tuesday vs. L.A. Clippers.
Tornado forecast: imminent


More Corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

These Go To 11!

Ah, fresh off another Blunder loss, it's time to reflect on the wonderful number 11...

1. Spinal Tap's amps go to 11.
2. In Numerology, eleven is considered to be a Master Number.
3. Eleven is a Portland-based shoe brand, NOT named Nike.
4. Eleven possesses the qualities of intuition, patience, honesty, sensitivity, and spirituality, and is idealistic...all of the qaulities Clay Bennett does NOT possess.
5. Apollo 11 landed the first human on the moon. Since they were all humans, we know Clay Bennett was not among them.
6. United States Constitution has an 11th amendment: The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or Equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
7. New York, home of the Jets, Giants, Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Islanders Knicks, and the Soup Nazi, was the 11th State to join the union.
8. Na or sodium, is the eleventh element. Sodium, aka salt, often results in high blood pressure, bad for humans, good for Clay.
9. Edgar Martinez, Mark Messier, Norm Van Brocklin, Phil Simms, Larry Fitzgerald all wore/wear number 11.
10. The Sonics won 11 in a row in 1996, until a 106 - 105 loss to San Antonio snapped that streak. The Zombie Sonics have never won more than two in a row.
11. Eleven Blunder losses this season, so far, after a 102 - 93 mauling by the Denver Nuggets on Monday.

Blunder: 12-11, 4th Place.
Next Loss: Tonight vs. Dallas.

More Corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

LeBron's 44 Sends Blunder to 10th Loss, Sees Empty Seats

LeBron's season-high 44 points led the Cavaliers embarrassment of Clay Bennett's Zombie Sonics on Sunday, 102-89. James added 7 boards and 5 assists in the rout.

Future ex Blunder Kevin Durant, one game closer to getting out of OKC, led the Blunder with 29 points in 42 minutes.

Thabo Sefalosha led the lowlights with zero points on a sizzling 0 for 4 shooting clinic in 28 minutes. Durant kicked in seven turnovers and Russell Westbrook enjoyed 4 personal fouls, 4 for 15 shooting, and 0 for 3 from three-point range.

Announced 'attendance' was 18,203. However, even James noticed empty seats. After a layup, James stopped to snag a french fry from the front row.

"There wasn't nobody sitting there," James said, "The french fries had their own seat."

Apparently potatoes are the new 'fan' in OKC. Very Interesting. Give Bennett credit; he has found a way to expand the Blunder fan base by reaching out to the coveted vegetable market.

According to a report in FORBES, several NBA teams have now moved under the $1 million in gate receipts per home game - with OKC leading the way down the drain. After only one season in OKC.

Has anyone else noticed most Blunder home games fall on Fri/Sat/Sun? Weird! Is there someone special this holiday season you'd want to annoy, isolate or enrage? Now's your chance! Treat 'em to the Blunder polo shirt, now on sale for only $64.99!


Blunder 12-10, 4th Place.
Next Loss: Monday at Denver.
Tornado watch: Looming.
Oklahoma 'celeb' sighting: Oklahoma women's basketball coach Sherri Coale sat courtside at the end of the scorer's table.

More Corndogs! More Losses! More Potatoes counted as fans!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nine: The List!

1. One ass kicking by the Celtics, 105-87. Largest loss in the Bored Center this season.
2. Two points scored, combined, between Sefalosha, Collison and Livingston in 49 minutes.
3. Three rhymes with 'glee', as in a cultural television phenomenon, or that special feeling I get when Bennett suffers another loss.
4. Four Fouls on Durant, Green and Collison, to lead both teams.
5. Five Turnovers by Russell Westbrook, to lead both teams.
6. 'Six' rhymes with "pricks", like Clay Bennett, Howard Schultz, David Stern, Wally Walker, Dick Cheney and the one-eyed trouser monster - that's six pricks!
7. Seven Celtics scoring in double figures, led by Garnett's 23. The Blunder had two, led by future ex-blunder's Kevin Durant.
8. 'Eight' rhymes with 'great', which the Celtics are and the Blunder are NOT! Awwww!

And finally...

9. Nine Blunder losses! More Corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder!

Blunder: 10-9.
Next Loss: Monday vs. Golden State.
Tornado watch: Imminent.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hilarious Joke of the Day

Too funny not to share, regardless of religious affiliation.

Four Catholic men and a Catholic woman were having coffee.
The first Catholic man tells his friends, "My son is a priest, when he walks into a room, everyone calls him 'Father'."

The second Catholic man chirps, "My son is a Bishop. When he walks into a room people call him 'Your Grace'."

The third Catholic gent says, "My son is a Cardinal. When he enters a room everyone says 'Your Eminence'."

The fourth Catholic man then says, "My son is the Pope. When he walks into a room people call him 'Your Holiness'."

Since the lone Catholic woman was sipping her coffee in silence, the four men give her a subtle, "Well....?"

She proudly replies, "I have a daughter, slim, tall, 38D breast, 24" stomach and 34" hips. When she walks into a room, people say, "Oh My God."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Blunder Losses Mount, Drop Eighth Game

The Blunder continue to pad the loss column as they fell to the short-handed Rockets on Sunday, 100-91. Houston used the adversity of Etan Thomas eye gouging of Luis Scola's to fuel the comeback that put the Blunder in their place - the loss column. After Etan "Bill Romanowki" Thomas's eye-gouge/assault, which knocked Scola out of the game, Aaron Brooks and Chris Landry rallied the Rockets with 21 points a piece to lead Houston, despite having Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and now Luis Scola out.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant led OKC, as always, with 25 points on 10 for 19 shooting in 45 minutes, while hauling in nine boards. Jeff Green, 0 for 5 from three-point land, and Serge Ibaka led the Blunder with 4 fouls apiece. Kevin Durant had six turnovers, and Toshe Sefaloshi went 2 for 7 from the field and 0 for 3 from three-point range to finish with six points in 38 minutes to lead the low lights.

The Blunder committed 20 turnovers and were a sizzling 1 for 15 from 3-point range.
The Rockets used a 29-14 advantage on the boards, sans Ming, to rally back from a 54-45 halftime deficit.

And speaking of deficits, there was a noticable fan deficit at the Furd Center. The game was announced as another non-sell out. Damn shame that is. Probably time to rebuild the arena (at taxpayer/suckers expense, undoubtedly).


Blunder: 9-8
Next Loss: Wednesday vs. Philadelphia
Tornado watch: Hazerdous Weather Watch in effect

More Corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holmgren Returning to Seattle?

From what I am hearing, it's happening. Rumors are running wild Mike Holmgren is about to be reunited with the Seattle Seahawks. Holmgren, who guided Green Bay to the Super Bowl and Seattle to it's only Super Bowl, has been itching to get back into the game and will reportedly return to lead Seattle as its GM.

So, where does that leave Tom Ruskell? Out. Waaaaay out.

The much maligned GM has come under heavy fire recently as the Seahawks, a disappointing 3-7 this season, have spiraled downward under his watch. He's been blamed for the Steve Hutchinson debacle and his failure to address the huge void it left on the offensive line. That botched deal, where he refused to sign Hutch early in the season and instead 'transition' tagged him (the difference being Seattle would've received two first-round picks as compensation) may be his lasting legacy. Many bitter fans believe that line got the team to the Super Bowl and it's subsequent disintegration has doomed the team. Truth be told, it wasn't entirely up to him, but he'll always own the legacy of the poison pill debacle.

Ruskell's drafting legacy is a mixed bag. While this season he scored high on most boards, his previous drafts have produced only a minimum of impact players, most notable were several busts in the secondary. The linbacking core has been a strength but get's little help up front or behind it. The hiring of Mora while Holmgren was said to be an effort to 'ease the transition' but it was widely reported the team was split in it's allegiances between Mora and Holmgren supperters during the tumultous final year of Holmgren coaching.

Not all the problems are Ruskell's fault. The team has endured staggering injuries the past two seasons and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has gone into decline.

All signs point to Holmgren returning to Seattle and reuniting with Paul Allen. He has had his year off to re-energize and now can tackle the GM job he had to give up while coaching. He'd likely be highly motivated to prove his superior skills over the much-maligned Ruskell's, whom he feuded with over personnel decisions.

Will Jim Zorn be the next Seahawk to return to Seattle is he is fired in DC as is widely expected? Zorn made a name for himself as Seahawk's quarterbacks coach and was whisked away to be the Redskins head coach, a position clearly above him at the time. But that was Snyder's error. The lessons Zorn's learned, at Snyder's expense, could be used back in Seattle. Especially as this franchise rebuilds its offensive line and finds a new quarterback.

What happends with Mora? I imagine he gets another year or so before any decisions would be made. You don't want a revolving door head coaching situation. While his first season is a disaster, I am not sure you pull the trigger yet. Although with well-respected Holmgren as GM, it makes you wonder who he could lure to Seattle should Mora be canned.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Presto! Blunder Bumble to Magical Loss!

Former Supersonic Rashard Lewis had 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in three quarters to lead the short-handed Magic over the Blunder in Orlando on Tuesday, 108-94. The Magic led by as many as 30 points before Magic starters went to the bench early, allowing the Blunder to make it appear respectable.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant was held to 12 points, far below his 32.8 average. He also contributed to the lowlights with a game high 4 turnovers! Tosha Sefalosha poured in 2 points on a scorching 1-4 shooting clinic in 25 minutes of 'playing' time. That's two points more than I scored. The Blunder also managed to give up 40 points in the paint. Solid!

Cy Young Award winner Zach Greinke of the Royals was in the audience. Greinke is from Apopka, a suburb of Orlando. Like the rest of America, Greinke was not wearing any Blunder merchandise.

No Tornado Warnings were issued in OKC, nor were there any ZombieSonics sell out warnings issued. In fact, no sellouts this season. I thought OKC 'supported the team'? I suppose a couple more arena rebuilds and an upgraded corndog stand, at OKC taxpayer expense of course, and I'm sure they'll come runnin' to the games! They may have to walk though, because according to Forbes, Oklahoma has the second highest obesity rate in the US.

More Corndogs (literally!) More Losses! More Blunder!

Blunder: 6-6
Next Loss:
Season Outlook: Dry and Dusty. 90% chance of failure.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blake-less Clippers Beat Down the Blunder!

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant's 40 points weren't enough as the NBA's poster child for horrible franchise relocation, lost to the NBA's poster child for horrible underachievement, the Clippers, 101 - 93.

Rookie first-round pick James Harden led the lowlights going 0-8 from the field and 0-5 from 3 point range while Thabo Sefalolsho went 1-9 from the field and 0-5 from three point land. Time to talk contract extension for these sharpshooters? Nick Collison had six fouls in 27 minutes.

The Blunder locker room was abuzz before the game at the team's chances to finally get Blake Griffin's autograph. Sadly, the night was deemed a total bust for OKC when it was discovered he did not make the trip due to knee rehabilitation and his total lack of desire to ever see OKC. Unable to regroup from the devastating news, the Blunder quickly gave in. Chris "The Layman" Kaman went off for 25 points to lead the Clippers who snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Blunder showed off their throwback uniforms tonight...throwbacks to last season, that is. Time to start the "where will Durant go" chant. New York? Dallas? Lakers?

Blunder: 5-5
Next Loss: Tuesday at Miami
Tumbleweed forecast: 100% chance or tumbleweeds.


The game was played before another non-sell out crowd in OKC. The local John Deere's truck and tractor pull out drew the NBA again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

ESPN's Bill Simmons gets us: He hates Clay Bennett, too

This is a re-posting of Steve Kelley's article from his Friday the 13th column in the Seattle Times. An appropriate date to rekindle the evil that was Clay Bennett and the duplicity the sporting community showed towards Seattle fans towards the plight of the Sonics. I have edited some out of the content for brevity and highlighted particularly poignant points.


Throughout the painful, insulting process of losing the Sonics, it always bothered me how little the national media seemed to care.

The same people who always said they loved coming to Seattle, the people who remembered the KeyArena crowds from the 1996 Finals against Chicago as among the most electric they'd ever felt, practically ignored this grand theft.

Almost no one challenged NBA commissioner David Stern's motives. The same people who professed love for this city ignored it when Seattle needed their help the most.

The one loud, insistent exception was ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons. He took up the cause when too few others would. He did his homework. He was the noise in the midst of the media silence.

"It was really a hijacking," Simmons said of the Seattle franchise's move to Oklahoma City.

Simmons is one of the best in our business. He's funny. He's informed. He's prolific. He's a basketball fan who cared about what was happening in Seattle.

"I was kind of dismissive of it initially," Simmons said, "but I got a lot of e-mails from Sonics fans asking me to 'actually look at what's happening out here.' "

Simmons paid attention and called the move "the biggest blemish on Stern's legacy."

"Maybe he didn't willingly conspire," Simmons said by telephone Thursday morning, "but by not doing anything, it made him a conspirator. He's the commissioner and he's supposed to stop stuff like this and didn't.

"It was a case of a guy [Clay Bennett] who bought the team and never really wanted to keep it there and stole the team. I love basketball and I felt like Seattle had really good fans. It just didn't seem fair to me that somebody bought this team with no intention of keeping it in Seattle and the rules were in place so that nobody could stop him. I continue to feel bad for the fans."

Simmons is coming to town Tuesday to sign copies of his new 697-page book, "The Book of Basketball." When he was planning this book tour, the No. 1 city Simmons wanted to visit was Boston, home of his beloved Celtics. But, he said, Seattle was the second city on his list.

"It's hard for me to believe that Seattle's not one of the 30 cities that has a team," he said. "I think there are maybe six, seven, eight cities in the NBA that really got the NBA and really understood the history and it resonated. And I think Seattle was one of those cities."

Simmons promised Seattle's NBA fans he never would mention the Oklahoma City franchise by its NBA-given name. Even now, he calls them the "Zombie Sonics," or "The Team That Shall Not Be Named."

"As I dove into this issue more, I was very surprised that it wasn't a bigger story," he said. "I thought it was the kind of story that should be leading SportsCenter and should be on the cover of S.I. I didn't get it and I still don't get it.

"It's crazy to me, that this wasn't a bigger story, especially when you think of all the stuff we blow out of proportion. This was a story that was at the heart of American sports. The fact that owners can extort fans and get whatever they want."


Zombie Sonics. I love that line.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Seahawk Mid-Season Report Card

“You’re as good as your record says you are” says Bill Parcells.

3-5 ain't very good. There's plenty of 'bad' to go around on this team right now. However, if they can steer clear of the icebergs, there are some good things for the Seahawks and changes are coming. As ugly as Seattle has looked at times, there are positives; Matt is getting healthy, as is the o-line, there are healthy receivers to throw to, the kicking game is stable, and a very possible change in the GM position looms. This team is not a disaster, but they need to get on a hot streak STAT if the playoffs are to be any kind of reality. Truth be told, that reality is fading fast.

Offense: 22nd in total offense (320.8 ypg. & 20th in scoring. (20.9ppg)
Grade: D+ and rising

Passing game: Amid a plethora of injuries, the passing game has shown it can still be a force. Receiving corp of Burleson, Branch and Carlson are a solid core of consistent receivers. They need to step up their effort full-time with intangibles ie; blocking/finishing routes. This is a good unit that makes catches. Matt is still the franchise and as he goes, so go the Seahawk fortunes. He is still a formidable passer, competitor, and proud Seahawk. B-/C+ and rising.

Running game: Very little productivity. Running backs Jones, Forsett and Griffiths running abilities are at the mercy of a very suspect offensive line. However, out of the backfield as receivers they are very effective. It’ll be interesting to see if the bigger, faster, Louis Rankin will start getting carries and if the line can open some holes consistently. D+/C-. Holding steady.

Offensive line: Injuries and a new blocking scheme have hindered this unit. The loss of Jones is significant, but not surprising. They look horrible one week and competitive the next. They could grow into a decent unit with some help and time together. Draft picks will surely be used to shore up this unit on the off season. D+: Holding steady.

RED FLAG: Where's the red zone offense? Too many field goals. Four against the cowaqrdly Lions and toothless Bears? NFL teams win by scoring touchdowns. This team needs to improve red-zone efficiency via play-calling, execution and sheer desire.

Defense. 13th in total defense (322 ypg) & 13th in scoring (20.9 ppg)
C and holding.

A tough unit to analyze. There’s talent here. They look bad at times yet are in the upper half (13) of the league, statistically. They’ve also been victimized by the Seahawk offense ineptness that goes three-and-out far too often, keeping them on the field too much. Regardless, they need to improve and probably will. The line and 'backers are good. If they can develop and hold their own up front, they'll take pressure off the suspect secondary that is 26th in the leagus against the pass. Once the Seattle offense improves, this defense will have a chance to flourish. C and rising.

Linebackers: Solid group even with Hawthorne filling in for Lofa. He’ll be a starter somewhere next year, maybe even Seattle. I would not be surprised if Lofa’s career declines as injuries take a toll. This is the strength of the team. Is it time to make Kerney a linebacker? B and holding steady.

Defensive Line: ability to pressure the quarterback needs more consistency. Sacks are great, but pressure, containment and fundamental play are what hurt offenses most and lead to three-and-outs and turnovers. They have played some very formidable o-lines this season (Arizona, Indy, Dallas) that can make you look bad. Still, there needs to be more accountability and desire up front. It's time for the new acquisitions to start shining.

Secondary: Continues to be abused when up against big receivers and skillful QB’s like Peyton and Warner. Then again, most secondary’s do. Again, part of the problem is up front where the QB has too much time. Trufant needs to get back to playing speed. The biggest flaw here is that this unit is too small for a division that has a tradition of big physical receivers like Fitzgerald, Holt, Bolquin, etc. Need better coaching and a change in strategy to maximize the talent they have. Head coach Mora was the secondary coach before taking over for Holmgren, yet his students are arguably the weakest link on D. Weird. Need bigger, physical, punishing talent here. D and holding steady.

Special Teams: Sadly, Mare is the team MVP for all the field goals he’s made (14 out of 16) due to the inept red zone offense. There is plenty of speedy talent in the return game. Forsett had a huge blunder against Chicago. They need to step up and break some returns for scores to help the offense. Need better coverage. C+. Holding steady.

I am not swayed by Mora or his staff either way yet. 3-5 is not awe inspiring, but growing pains are to be expected, especially with a new staff, this roster and injuries. Seattle has had brutal losses (Arizona, Indy and Dallas) but also two huge shutouts at home. This team falls somewhere in the middle. This is not a championship caliber team, nor is it a cellar-dweller. They have an interesting mix of youth and veterans. Injuries are hampering this team, along with mental toughness and smart strategy. Consistency, execution, and the player's desire to win is questionable at times. Coaching has to step it up and start getting the most out of this team. 9-7 would be a huge achievement for this team, albeit unlikely.

RED FLAG: Ruskell has not been offered an extension and Holmgren is said to covet the job. Is Tim a lame duck keeping Mike’s seat warm for him until next season? Is this good or bad? This would be three straight years of transition. Continuity is a huge part of success. IS there a plan in place or is this a franchise adrift? Ruskell is replaceable, but let’s hope the team takes a step up in that crucial area.

Overall grade: D+
Games out of first: 2
Playoff forecast: Gloomy
Predicted finish: 7-9
First round draft picks: two
Countdown to Ruskell's likely departure and possible Holmgren reunion: Eight Games.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blunder Rocket to Losing Record!

The Houston Rockets extended their winning streak over the Blunder to 11 games with a 105-94 victory on Friday night. Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry had 21 points apiece to lead Houston and Luis Scola added 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Rockets are without injured center Yao Ming.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant had 27 points and nine rebounds. DJ White, Nick Collison and Tosha Sefolosha led the lowlights with 3 fouls apiece, Westbrook had 4 turnovers, Nonads Krystac was 1-8 for three points in twenty minutes, and Jeff Green was 0-4 from three-point range.

The Rockets wore red and yellow throwback jerseys ala the uniforms they wore when they won NBA titles in 1994-95. The Blunder wore their Knick tribute uniforms.

Blunder: 2-3, 2.5 games out of first place, five game into the season.
Losing Streak: 3 and counting.
Next Loss: Sunday vs. Orlando.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yankees Win Series: World Yawns

Baseball loves it's cliches; it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings; Juuuust a bit outside; Yank win series.

Yup, the little-engine-that-could Yanks won their 27th World Series over the over-matched Phillies last night with a 7-3 victory in game six to take the series, 4-2. The defending champion Phillies never seemed much of a threat to the Yankees, who were in control of the series from the get-go.

The Yankees now have 27 more championships than the Mariners!

Matsui, deservedly, was the Series MVP. Speculation is swirling that he may not even be back with the club next year. Nonsense. They'll sign him. This championship was ripe for the cliches: A-Rod, fresh off his 'steroid scandal' and his surgery, gets his first ring; the Yanks christen their new $1.5 billion-dollar ballpark; the Matsui speculation, win one for ailing Steinbrenner, yada, yada, yada.

But those aren't even the greatest cliches. I've saved the best for last:

It's good to see that you can still buy a championship in baseball.

The Yanks payroll for 2009 was over $200 million, by far the highest in baseball. Yup, baseball loves it's cliches.

Yawn......

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blunder Blaze Trail to First Loss!

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning." Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore.

"I love that familiar stench of defeat." OKC Blunder fans.

The NBA Season is off and running, and so is the OKCBLUNDER!

OKC enjoyed loss numero uno (that's number one for my OKC fans) thanks to the Portland Trailblazers, 83-74. Portland, the lone NBA franchise in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to Clay Bennett's shenanigans, were sparked by Brandon Roy's 16 points. Roy, one of five Blazers scoring in double-figures, enjoyed a 42-point outburst on Saturday. He toned it down on Sunday, so as not to embarrass the Blunder in front of another non-sellout crowd at the Bored Center.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant had 16 points but was 0-5 from three-point land. Nonads Krystic led the lowlights with zero points in 20 minutes. Nick Collision, not to be outdone, pitched in zero points in 17 minutes. Westbrook did his part for the low-light reel with six fouls and nine turnovers. The Blunder went off on a 3-for-14 three-point effort for a sizzling 21%!

More Corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder! More non-sellouts!

Blunder: 2-1.
Next Loss: Tuesday vs World Champion L.A. Lakers.
Admitted non-sellouts so far: 1
Season outlook: Dry and dusty.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Apathy Draining NBA Fan Base?

Dear NBA:

We're just not that into you.

Perhaps it's a by-product of the technology age where you have a million different distractions fighting for your attention; games, internet, twitter, facebook, guitar hero. Or is it simply a league in decline? Either way the NBA is experiencing an erosion of it's core fan base. Will it return? Is it the game, the league or the fans?

It's been a long time since the NBA's dominance. When Jordan ruled the league and the league ruled all of sports. Can anyone remember one name so dominant? Then came Bird, Magic, Barkley, Malone, Payton. Suddenly we woke up to a league that was alive and flourishing with talent motivated by their competitive spirit; motivated to win titles, not endorsement contracts and Old Spice commercials. Success allowed that to happen, but it was that win-first mentality that drove it, not the other way around.
The influx of endless tv money drove the league to new heights. It was a new threshold for sports. Maybe even the pinnacle.

You can argue we have Kobe vs. LaBron, but it's not the same. Not even close. Great players, for sure, but not rivals. I cannot even think of a great NBA rivalry anymore. Sure, the propoganda machine will be in full force this season trying to hype it up, but it'll ring hollow for most of us.

With the Sonics gone I have no appetite for the NBA. I live in L.A where it'd be easy to jump on the Laker bandwagon, but that idea is laughable. I will never be a Laker fan. Too many bad memories of Lakers-over-the-Sonics highlight (or lowlights) for that to happen. I respect the hell out of the organization because they are constant champions, but I am a Sonic fan at heart, and they are gone.

I thought this apathy was driven from bitterness of the loss of the Sonics, but I was wrong. It goes deeper, and it's not just me. I've discussed the NBA with several friends as the season approaches and they echo my sentiment. "I'm just not that into it anymore" was what they were telling me. These are fans with childhood teams (Houston, Phoenix, Portland) and a long history of support. The luster is gone and the game is boring. Before this season starts we know the Lakers will likely repeat and the top story all season will be King James rumors about his imminent move to New York.

I also plan to stoke the fires with the imminent move of the NBA OUT of OKC, which I fully expect to happen within five years. I also expect the folding or outright relocation of teams. This league has too many and not all will survive the recession. The natural balance will be achieved. Does Memphis really need a team? What about Charlotte and OKC? They survive because of NBA revenue sharing and other welfare programs that merely stave off the obvious: too many teams, too few real men playing the game because they love it, and not enough appetite for either of them. Apathy is spreading throughout this league's fanbase.

Sorry NBA, we're just not that into you.

Warm regards,

The Fans

P.S. I am now seeing NCAA Football pretty seriously, so stop calling me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Husky Mid-season Report Card

What a difference a coaching staff makes. Half way through the Sark Administration's first season at the helm the Dawgs are a surprising 3-3. They could easily be 4-2 or 2-4. 3-3 is a vast improvement over the disaster that was Willingham. He could not glean one win from this same core group in 12 tries last season? He should be punished for the damage he did to the program and the kids.

Overall grad for this team at the mid-season point: C+/B-. Huge improvements, but there is work to be done to get this program back to its place among the football elite.

Coaching Staff: B. Sark and Holt have done a solid job of getting these kids to play hard for four quarters and have instilled a swagger and confidence that went MIA under the previous regime. The defense has been slow to make adjustments at times. The Husky defense had no answer for the Arizona offense which moved the ball at will. Adjustmetns were non-existant. Not until the final 30 seconds did they pressure Foles. UW played safe and conservative, albiet expectedly. Against ND they could not stop Tate who had a career day. Sark has remade this team's image. He has missed some strategic opportunities (goal line offense vs. ND) to prove he can excel with lesser talent. USC is loaded - UW is not. Over all a very impressive turnaround with a team that is not talent-laden - but there is work to be done as we discover this team and its' coaches learning curve. UW has gone from a laughingstock to a respectable and formidable unit that is clearly on the rise. Expect a monster recruiting class next year, a by-product of the turnaround. This staff’s stock is soaring as this team ascends.

Defense: C+. This is not an overly talented unit. They rely on emotion and momentum and play their best when backed up against the wall. They give up yardage but are feisty when it counts. The linebackers are strong and the secondary, led by Trufant and hero du jour Mason Foster, is maturing rapidly but has a ways to go. The line needs to find ways to get pressure inside (aggressive scheming will help) and become more stout against the run. This unit is improving and is taking on Holt's fiery persona - thankfully. They compete for four quarters as seen in all six games.

Offense: B. Locker is improving as a pocket passer and remains a threat on the ground to be reckoned with. He needs to improve accuracy but that will come with time and under the proper coaching, which he is getting. The running game is a work in progress and needs to improve it's consistency to keep pressure off Locker so he can flourish. The O-line is playing above its head despite injuries and often being outmatched. They play hard and do a pretty good job of pass protection, but it needs to improve, and it will.

The major problem on offense is a receiving corp (C-)that continues to drop passes they need to catch. For as many quality catches this group makes, just as many fall incomplete. These are opportunities that need to be taken advantage of if this team is to reach its offensive potential.

Special teams: C-. Another area of concern. Kickoff coverage is poor. Stanford opened with a return for a TD. Bad coverage and poor strategy - why kick it to their most dangerous threat? Bad planning and worse execution. This unit consistently gives up long returns which set up opponents with strong field position. Happened every time against Arizona - giving an offense they could not stop an extra advantage. This area needs to improve quickly. Punting game is good as is the place-kicking team.

Based on last year's F grade, this team has shown vast improvements. With the next Husky win you can start the "Sark for PAC-10 Coach of the Year" hype machine. If they get to a bowl game we're talking National Coach of the Year. Locker is on pace to be the PAC-10's Offensive Player of the Year.

Overall this team and staff are a C+/B- and are likely to only improve as the system takes hold, players naturally improve, confidence soars and they expect to win. This is a a huge improvement in all areas from last year. Purple Pride is back!

6-0 gets all A grades. 0-6 gets F's.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blunder Notch First Loss!

The OKC Blunder stormed out of the preseason gates on Wednesday and promptly lost to the Memphis Grizzlies, 99-91. The Blunder picked up where they left off last season: losing! According to future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant "I think [the game] was a step forward." He probably means a step closer to the day he leaves the dust bowl in his rear view mirror. No one loses to the Grizzlies and uses it as a 'step forward'. Durant had 17 points in the losing effort.

Byron Mullins led the Blunder lowlights with one point while top draft pick James Harden went 1-6 from three-point land.

As part of Daid Stern's 'get tough' negotiating policy with the refs, Michael Henderson, was called back as a replacement official during the current lockout and was part of Wednesday's officiating crew. Henderson was fired by the league in 2005.

Stay classy, David Stern!

Preseason record: 0-1
Next loss: Saturday at New Orleans.
Season outlook: dusty


More corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Texas!

We did our annual football road trip this year in Texas, during the weekend of September 18 - 20. We added a Rangers/Angels game on Friday night and our trip gave us the full Lone Star state experience, and proof that everything is indeed bigger in Texas.

Friday night we did the Rangers vs. Angels baseball game in Arlington. Our hotel was literally across the street from the stadium - a beautiful ballpark. After discovering we had the wrong tickets, because of my blunder, we immediately picked up new ones from the 'ticket broker' on the corner for $20. It all worked out! The seats were great, the game was fun and the Angels prevailed, 2-0 to increase their AL West lead and crush the Ranger hopes of post season play. A drunk in front of us kept trying to get the crowd to chant 'we want October'. A Navy vet talked our ears off. The beers were tasty! Hungry, we went to the hotel bar for food. The food was marginal and the atmosphere was dead.

Saturday we drove to Austin for Texas/Texas Tech football game, after a hilarious battle with the GPS system in our car. We check in to the hotel and were immediately surrounded by burnt orange. We were officially in Longhorn Country. A few Tech fans were present, but it was a sea of orange. It was hot in Austin, and since we were in Texas, we did the obvious; we hit up a highly rated BBQ joint. It was surprisingly average. "This isn't life changing" to quote Josh. We all agreed, although Scott actually went back for seconds.

We hit up the student store on campus and it was sensory overload - a mad crush of people and waves of burnt orange everywhere you looked. It was awesome. Picked up a Texas jersey and other garb and we headed off to the stadium to get our tickets at will call. Got our tickets and made a mad dash to a beer garden to 'prep' for the game. That meant four beers in five minutes. I received many text messages from friends alerting me that Washington had just upset #3 USC, 16-13. That meant more beers! Then it was off to the game. On the way to the stadium we witnessed a random Florida Gator fan waving a Gator towel and singing their praises. It was random and hilarious. Inside the stadium an usher let us get near the field for pictures - literally the front row. The teams entered the field right in front of us. It was awesome. Our seats were great (thank you UT Athletic Dept!) and our neighbors friendly. Attendance was a record crowd of over 100,000. I expected a blowout but Tech played tough and kept it close. The Longhorns won, 34-24, but Colt McCoy was not overly impressive, going 24 for 34 for 205 yards. Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts threw for 420 yards in the loss. It was a great game, great fans and an amazing atmosphere. Back at the hotel we went to the bar for food. Apparently they close the kitchen on Saturday nights at 12:00. No room service, nothing. They offered us popcorn. We declined.

Sunday we drive back to Dallas and catch the end of the Jets victory in our hotel and head to Dallas for the Sunday Night game vs. arch rival New York Giants. We went to the Sheraton Hotel and parked for free, just a few blocks from the stadium. It was awesome. We tailgated with Cowboy fans who were fun and engaging. When asked if they believed Tony Romo could 'get them to the Super Bowl', they all resoundingly said no. Ironically, three of them were wearing Romo jerseys. It was hilarious. Oh, and it was HOT! We made our way to the stadium. The brand new Dallas Cowboy's Stadium. Yes, it is impressive, inside and out.

The atmosphere was that of a rock concert - fun, festive and enormous. Inside it was gleaming and new with plenty of amenities and pretty good food. It was not cheap, though. We managed to go places we probably weren't supposed to go; we worked our way into a luxury suite (our seats were better), the Cowboy's locker room, George Bush walk by us, and got pic's taken with one of the refs in the tunnel. No one even questioned us. The team store was impressive. The game was a blast and the Giants ended up spoiling Jerry Jones Stadium debut as Eli manning marched the Giants down the field in crunch time to kick the game winning field goal. The fans were disappointed, but it was a great experience for us. The attendance was an NFL record - over 105,000 were there. Unfortunately the hype over the new stadium overshadowed the game. But it's true what they say; everything is bigger in Texas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Is This Sooner Bawling?

Give OKCBlunder your best take on why this 'lil shaver's cryin'!

Like this:

Oh no, the horror! On my left are Uncle Joe's nuts, on my right is Aunt Bertha's butt, and in front of me is the horror of Sooner football! Dear God, take thine eyes! Ahhhhhhhhh!

Monday, September 14, 2009

13 Thoughts on the Week in Football

1. Too much booth reviewing going on. I saw two college games where fumbles were challenged or reviewed - even though they were recovered by the fumbling team - the result wouldn't have changed possession or made any difference. Wasting time.

2. The Patriots and Bills desperately need to stick with those throwback uniforms - so much better than their current abominations.

3. USC is still the real deal. A lot of turnover on the team but a freshman led them to victory at Ohio State. Impressive. They should crush Washington this weekend.

4. Ohio State still cannot win the big game.

5. Denver Broncos have already experiences their season highlight. They better enjoy this win - they'll be few of them this season.

6. In the NFC West, San Francisco looks much improved and tough; The Cardinals look to be slipping - as expected (c'mon, they're the Cardinals); The Rams look horrible and Seattle looks improved and potentially very dangerous - but how real will they turn out to be?

7. Sucks to be in Chicago - losing that heartbreaker to the Packers while their receivers embarrass themselves, Cutler throws four picks, and Erlacher is out for the season. Ouch.

8. Drew Brees is the man. He toils in near anonymity - yet never complains while hanging up Hall of Fame numbers. Go Saints! I want them to succeed just for him!

9. How much longer does Jake Delhomme have a job?

10. Sure, Tennessee broke the jaw of UCLA's quarterback, but it was UCLA who smashed Tennessee in the mouth - winning in Knoxville and proudly representing the PAC 10.

11. Can Oregon make a run after that Boise State loss? Can Cal make as run at USC this season? Can anyone else win the PAC-10?

12. Washington tasted victory for the first time since 2007. The question is this; how long until WSU, a truly embarrassing program, wins their next game? What year?

13. Any questions about Mark Sanchez? I didn't think so. That offense has some weapons. Yes, the Jets will lose some games, but they are for real. That defense shut out a potent Houston offense.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Off Season Thoughts on The Blunder

Going into the new season the Blunder should likely be a better team than last season. Of course, making that prediction about a 23-win team is a no brainer - even if that team is run by village idiot, Clay Bennett.

Short term; James Hardin - a decent pick up in the draft. Frankly, there's no perfect fit in a thin draft - outside of their dream scenario Blake Griffin. But Griffin is a Clipper and Hardin is a Blunder. Deal with it. No one knows how he'll fit in until game time. He's a good athlete - chemistry remains to be seen.

The Blunder should be able to climb near the .500 mark this season - another year of playing together and consistent coaching will help. Dumping worst-possible-coaching-selection-of-all-time PJ Carlisimo will surely help. We all know he was never selected to make the Sonics/Blunder good - but a scape-goat/stop-gap until Bennett and his ilk could pry the team from a City that refused to be strong-armed into wasting mega-money on foolish investments. Scott Brooks should be able to gleen 35-40wins from this group of young athletic players. I don't see a playoff appearance for the Blunder next season - they simply do not have the right elements to make a strong enough push - their inside presence is lacking as is overall experience. That'll be tough to overcome in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

A very surprising, and potentially ominous indication of the Blunder's future can be traced back to last season; very few sellouts. Only 18 out of 41 home games were sold out in the Blunder's inaugural season in OKC. Is it because they weren't winning? Lack of local NBA interest? Financial inability of the local market to support the team? Truth be told, all those things probably factored into it.

Looking down the road I see the Blunder playing out their time in OKC and moving on to another city - probably in five years when the Ford Center escape-clause can be triggered, and I think it will be. The team is destined to be a money loser - and poor decisions on things as simple as name and uniforms will doom this team. Sure, the local fans will try and counter that argument with their rose colored view of the world. But the fact is that the Blunder needed someone to create a smarter and more desirable brand to consumers outside of the OKC market - a savvy name and uniforms/color scheme/logo would absolutely increase the teams merchandise outside of the local market. As is, they are bound to only be appealing to the locals, resulting in a revenue stream minimized because of small-minded thinking. You can argue that it make no difference - that these things are trivial. And they may be. But if you look at the bigger picture - it's indicative of this ownership group's inability to maximize the situation.

The Blunder will play on the brink of being competitive for a couple of years - keeping fans hopes alive - and even expanding and growing the fan base locally. However, non-sellouts, shrinking TV money and a gloomy merchandising forecast, make me conclude that this team will lose money steadily until Bennett, etal will finally relinquish it to a more capable and smarter group. I just don't believe they expect to have a team there in the long run. Hope the fans get their money's worth while they are there and that they don't get jilted too badly - like the City that's already paying for upgrades to an Arena for a team that won 23 games. Clay worked a great deal for a desperate town - and they'll pay for it. Right up until the moving trucks haul the team away in a couple years.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vick to the Eagles - Good Move

After much speculation, Michael Vick has gone from crashing as a Falcon, to resurrecting himself as an Eagle in Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love. It's almost prophetic. This is a low-risk, high-reward move by the Eagles.
Vick, the much-maligned 29 year-old and former all-pro, who was imprisoned after his conviction for running a dog-fighting ring, has a two-year deal with the Eagles. Year one is a $1.8million deal, with a club option for year two at over $5 million. Meaning any problems and it's bye-bye Vick. Think of how motivated Vick is. Hard to imagine anyone more motivated than this former star.
I like this signing.
First, Vick is an incredible athlete, or he was before going into the Big House. This gives Eagle opponents another weapon to prepare for. In the ultra-competitive NFC east - any edge is welcome. Obviously he brings the Wildcat option to the table, but could also play tailback, receiver and even back up McNabb - in emergency situations or in scrub time. He comes cheap and by getting him now, you prevent him from lining up against you.
Make no mistake - this is McNabb's team - the addition of Vick in no way imperils McNabb's status as the face and quarterback of the franchise. Vick will make an already deeply-talented team even better. A team that reached the NFC Championship game last season. The Eagles just became deeper at offensive skill positions. I believe Vick brings added value as a great practice player - the defense will have to work harder to account for him on the field - in the long run, the defense will be better on game day because of him.

Off the field I fully expect Vick to be a model teammate and citizen. He knows what he lost and I doubt he has any foolishness left in him after suffering the public humiliation of stupendous past decisions.

In the beginning, there will be those who will try to bash and discredit him - but that will fade away as Vick performs and stays clean and proper. He'll prove himself a changed man. He and the team only need to withstand the initial, predictable outpouring of the holier-than-thou who will want bash, trash and attention-grab. After that, you can't keep trashing Vick for his past. To forgive is divine, right? Eventually he'll be forgiven, or he becomes the victim. Sympathy will fall on him if people don't allow him room to grow. No one is saying what he did was right - we all know it wasn't. Vick admitted guilt, did his time, and is trying to get his life back together using his greatest skill - his athleticism. He deserves that chance. Everyone deserves a second chance.

In the roughest division in football - the NFC East - he could be a difference maker. I cannot wait to see what Vick, arguably the league’s most motivated player, will have to show us on the field.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Top Sports Movies of All-Time

There's been many sports movies churned out by Hollywood. Many under-achieve, like FOR LOVE OF THE GAME. A brilliant idea dumbed down by putting Coster on a pedestal. For all those that fall short, there are unforgettable classics. The sports movie is an American institution, so here is my top-15 starter list - in no particular order.

RUDY - Maybe the greatest American sports movie ever made.
MAJOR LEAGUE - "Juuuust a bit outside..." Cannot beat this movie.
CADDYSHACK - Set the standard for sports comedies.
ROCKY - Perhaps the all-time classic sports movie.
SLAP SHOT - The Hanson Brothers, Newman in a leather suit and a GTO. Brilliant.
EIGHT MEN OUT - Great take on the tragic and true story. Shoeless Joe Jackson mourns.
REMEMBER THE TITANS - Classic coming of age/football story. If you weren't moved, you may not be human.
ROCKY 2 - Very strong sequel - very tough to do.
PREFONTAINE - Great true story and the beginning of the Nike Empire - it's set in the Northwest, where I am from, so it rings true.
THE NATURAL - A classic - my least favorite on the list - yes I'm acknowledging it's relevance.
The SANDLOT - hilarious take from the kids point of view - an underrated classic.
JAWS (if your consider fishing a sport)
JERRY MAGUIRE - Cruise/Crowe showing us the money.
TIN CUP - Costner at his best.
MIRACLE ON ICE - Perhaps one of the greatest sports stories ever told - the young US Olympic hockey team taking on the Soviets at the height of Cold War tensions. This was more than a game, it was America climbing back on top.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stern Courting Seattle?

Below are excerpts from an interview with Commish David Stern. A couple of things stand out to me about this. First, Stern didn't have to even address this, he could've walked away. The fact he addressed it at all makes me think he's using this as a way to extend an olive branch to the Seattle media and fans (maybe city leaders) suggesting there is hope for a return of the NBA to Seattle.

That's not to suggest that Seattle is necessarily on the same page as Stern, however.

It's also an obvious lure for Ballmer and his group, keeping them on notice the league like them and their money. It's not a bad thing.

I truly believe Stern would love to be the person who ends his tenure as Commissioner by returning a franchise to Seattle. It's just too good of a finale for him. He gets to mend broken fences, appeal to the fans, penetrate a top 15 market, which the NBA desperately needs, and relocate a failing franchise to a market with a history of success and money. It's a feel good story if he can facilitate it and it's a smart business move - moving a failing franchise to a big market with money and fans. With the economic downturn in full swing, it's likely he needs this for the league. In a game of politics and positioning, this is a good indicator. Stern isn't going to over-play his courtship of Seattle, he'll use a soft touch as he did here, with compliments about the city and praise for Ballmer. He'll test the water to gage reactions.

Stern's willingness to discuss this on the record suggests it's time to move forward. Getting the Coliseum/Seattle Center upgraded is the obvious first step. I imagine the businesses in lower Queen Anne could use the financial jolt the Sonics provided. I imagine the NBA could, too.

Below are some excerpts from the interview.

At courtside of the Thomas and Mack Center, before Griffin's debut with of the Los Angeles Clippers, I asked Stern if I could talk with him for a couple of minutes. Just two minutes for 41 years. Two minutes to talk to Seattle basketball fans. A little respect after showing the ultimate disrespect.

He paused, looked at a member of his public relations staff and said, "OK, two minutes."

He gave me a minute and 43 seconds. I asked him if he would offer some thanks to Seattle for all it did for the league. "It was a great city for the NBA," Stern said, dropping the stridency of last summer. "It supported us very well and we had great teams and great memories. I don't consider it a success that we left Seattle, but a failure of types. And I hope someday, whether on my watch or a successor's watch, that we again have a team in Seattle."

With a public relations staff member tape recording our brief interview, Stern was asked what he thought Seattle should do next.

"The next step is really the right putative owner, who really wants to have a team and is prepared to do what it takes, working together with the city, the state to get an arena and get the job done," he said. "I think ultimately there will be [another team in Seattle]. I really do."

When he was asked if Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, an NBA maven who is part of a group that has offered to make a sizable financial commitment to bring the league back to the city, could be the kind of owner Stern would like to see in Seattle?

"I don't want to put the whammy on him," Stern said, "but he'd be a hell of an owner."

A year ago, when Bennett left town with the team, the idea of even an NBA intrasquad scrimmage coming to Seattle seemed impossible. But in October, the Portland Trail Blazers will play an exhibition game against the Phoenix Suns at KeyArena.

I asked Stern if this could be considered a hopeful sign for those of us who want the league in our town. "I think it's just an attempt by Portland to do the right thing and show fans a good time," Stern said.

He was asked if he was concerned about a possible boycott of that game.

"I think the fans are entitled to do whatever they want to do," he said, beginning to move away. "It is an independent city. It always has been and I hope it always will be."

NBA's Economic Forecast - Gloomy

In an article by the associated press, NBA Commissioner David Stern acknowledged that the NBA league is in serious financial trouble, with at least half the teams posting net losses last season. Let's not rush to judgement and blame this all on Stern. I dare not give his policy's that much credit. Obviously, many businesses are losing money in the dire economic landscape we are in. But half the teams? Ouch!

The expected reduction in salary cap will help. It reduces expenditures and player salaries, both were escalating at an obscene rate. Now they can be dialed back down to a more market-defined level. The league also expects many teams to offer lower ticket prices to lure more sales. Will it work? That remains to be seen.

As previously reported here, the league has a $175 million dollar 'slush fund' that teams can draw from in times of need. Well, welcome to the times of need. Pressure will be intense on coaches to produce winning teams and to get them to the playoffs. Additional post-season revenues may be the only way teams have a chance to compete fiscally. TV revenues are down and the days of mega-TV contracts appear to be a memory as networks scramble to find new ad revenue sources. Less revenue for networks means less money on the table when tv contracts are up. Trickle down theory, in full effect. Driving the prices down further is the proliferation of so (too?) many distribution methods including tv, cable, internet, radio and satellite. Is saturation becoming a problem? Supply and demand, anyone?

With so many teams suffering, folding teams could eaasily emerge as a possibility. Just as businesses like Starbucks are forced to close weak-performing franchises, will pro teams follow suit? Is this the time when the league finds it's true financial niche, via addition by subtraction?

Only time will tell. Stern's policy's will certainly be scrutinized closely, as he tries to right the ship while simultaneously considering his inevitable retirement.

One idea that could bode well for the league financially would be a proven market like Seattle to have another team, something the NBA should begin pushing for. The City of Seattle needs to get on board and pay the idea some serious attention. Let's put the Stern/Bennett ill-will aside and look at it as bringing a business to town, a business that contributes to other local businesses, the local economy, and creates jobs.

It won't save the league, but it's a place to start.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nine Thoughts For the Ninth

9. Lakers will repeat if not three-peat. A world class organization that out-Raiders the Raiders by “just winning, baby”. They talk the talk and walk the walk. They have the most elite scorer in the game in Kobe, and just added arguably its top defender in Artest. Wow.

8. Lance Armstrong – Still has that competitive drive at 37 - where does he rank among the greatest athletes of all time? Is he in the same breath as Ali, Jordan, Drysdale, Howe? Is cycling really a legitimate sport?

7. McNair – Tragic. Now we’ll have to watch his on-field legacy take an endless beating by a bored media and witness as exploiters vie for life rights for the book/movie deal. You want irony? Word out of Tennessee is that state officials were preparing a youth suicide prevention public service announcement featuring McNair before he was shot and killed last week.

6. Houston Rockets – on the cusp of greatness, then lose Yao and Artest, but add Ariza. Huge blow to this quality franchise. If Yao’s injury is as serious as some suspect it is, did playing for China’s Olympic team damage him physically? Did patriotism, even forced patriotism, contribute to the demise of his NBA career? How will this effect NBA/China relations? Probably won't at all, as long as we can sell Kobe jerseys in Beijing.

5. Seattle Mariners – Coming off a 100-loss season, this team is hovering at .500 and staying in the playoff picture on pitching, chemistry and pure guts and determination. Makes you wonder if desire and effort trump talent and ability in baseball. Imagine if the bullpen wasn’t imploding. To be honest, this is not a very talented team - which makes this team's ability to hang around all the more impressive. Looks like the front office, manager and team chemistry have drastically improved. That bodes well for the future of the franchise.

4. Who is America’s team in the NFL? The Cowboys are winless in the playoffs in 12 seasons. The Lone Star ain't shinin' too bright these days. Desperate moves like adding PacMan Jones, tabloid fodder Romo and his head case girlfriend, botoxed Jerry Jones and his need to control have turned this team into a laughing stock and the antithesis of the Cowboy lore created by Landry and Staubach. So, who takes the throne now? Pittsburgh? New England? Anyone else even close?

3. Whose running for the Dawgs? David Freeman and Brandon Johnson have been declared ineligible, adding to a depleted backfield already without Brandon Yakaboski and Terrance Dailey, last year’s leading rusher with an embarrassing 338 yards. Cougar Rueben Mayes had 356 in one game against Oregon by himself. With do-everything Jake Locker maturing into a more pass-oriented mentality, how does this hurt his progress?

2. Favre-to-Vikings speculation. Genius or boneheaded? How much more damage can Brett Favre do to his legacy? He hasn’t finished a season healthy or with a shred of dignity in two years. He’s embarrassing himself....right out of the Hall Of Fame? Not likely, but C’mon, Brett....call it a day and take that cushy gig in the broadcast booth before it’s too late and you’re a walking punch line. Or limping punch line.

1. Blunder did not get Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin. That warms the cockles of my heart. Not because it hurts the fans or denies the team – but because it denies jackass-supreme Clay Bennett the benefits it would have brought to him – like the sappy marketing of a “local boy comes home to play” garb and the potential increase in season ticket sales as a result.

More Corndogs, More Losses, More Blunder!

Monday, July 6, 2009

More Draft! More Free Agency! More Corndogs!

The draft came and went and the Blunder did not get Blake Griffin. Yes, I breathe a sigh of relief. However, the drafting of James harden from Arizona State has been getting mixed reviews. Even I am not sure what to think on this. He's exciting, athletic and has a rookie contract - all things good for OKC. He's practically a local, if you consider Arizona local.

Rodrigue Beaubois - huh? Jury is out on this guy. Seems like a potentially wasted pick, but this guy will likely be quite cheap, which really fits OKC's needs here. They probably would've traded this pick if any takers stepped up, but in a weak draft, not much you can do here. This guy'll be fun in practice.

Overall, I'll give the Blunder a C+ grade. Harden is good - for sure. How he meshes with OKC remains to be seen, but the guy can play. I even watched him get taken to school, twice, by an overachieving Washington State team.

FREE AGENCY

All Quiet on the Western Front.

On the OKC Free Agency front that is. OKC has been quiet this off season. Check book closed. The only noise so far has been the sounds of the Swiffer on the Ford Congressional Bail-Out Center floor and the Maytag scrubbing OKC's New York Knick tribute uniforms. Better run 'em through twice, folks - the stench of another 59-loss season under Bennett is hard to get off. Oh, and Ford is now bankrupt. Coincidence? I think not.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

The biggest moves in free agency were made by Detroit who corralled Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to play in the city formerly known as Motown. While the city's auto industry is on life support, the Pistons will be revving it up.

Los Angeles Lakers (c'mon, as if I even need to clarify Lakers, here) grabbed Ron Artest, lost Trevor Ariza and get Phil Jackson back. They are still very likely the team to beat.


Orlando signs Vince Carter and loses Hedo Terkoglu. This is interesting. This team was poised to stay atop the Eastern Conference. Losing Turkoglu to Toronto hurts. Frankly it makes little sense at all - he should've gotten a deal done in Orlando or looked at Portland where he could at least live under the illusion the playoffs were a possibility. In Toronto? Nice city, NBA wasteland. Adding Carter looks great on paper, but how much more is he bringing to offset the loss. If it is anything at all Orlando should be poised for another deep playoff run.

Rasheed Wallace to Boston. An aging team just got more physical in the post. They'll add rebounds, push opponents scoring averages down, and lead the league in technical fouls. In addition, they do not have to play against his. Sure he is mercurial, but he's with a savvy mix of veterans in Boston who know how to win. If he can keep from coming unhinged mentally, he'll have a fun ride in Beantown.


Shaq traded to Cleveland. If he can stay healthy and give the Cav's 20 minutes late in games, he'll help LaBron. Maybe Shaq will find a second wind playing with LaBron. A m otivated Shaq is a dangerous thing. Hopefully he spends the off season polishing up his foul shooting. He makes it interestend for Cleveland. It's all about im staying healthy and being able to play the post come playoff time. Clearly a pro-active effort to keep King James in Cleveland.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Clippers Win Draft Lottery - Griffin LA Bound?

The Los Angeles Clippers won the draft lottery sweepstakes on Tuesday and will get the first pick in the June 25th draft. Oklahoma's Blake Griffin is the standout player in a draft that is not particularly rich in talent this year. Memphis will pick second and the OKC Blunder third. Sacramento, which had the worst record in the league at 17-65, fell all the way to fourth followed by Washington at fifth.

The last time the Clippers had the first overall pick was in 1998 when they took Michael Olowokandi, considered by many to be one of the biggest busts in NBA history. He was taken ahead of stars like Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Mike Bibby, and Rashard Lewis. Olowokandi's career ended in 2007. A 2005 Sports Illustrated article ranked him third on a list of NBA draft busts. ESPN's Bill Simmons claimed someone once described Olowokandi as "the human Ebola virus". Ouch. He averaged less than 9 points a game for his career. Will the Clippers, a franchise known almost as much for their terrible front office as they are their endless losing seasons, do the right thing and take Griffin?

Why I think they do.

This will help wash the stink off the Elton Brand loss, give them a formidable inside presence and bring a fresh face of hope for this horribly moribund franchise. The positive press that Griffin will bring will likely result in an initial ticket sales surge based on the promise of a better tomorrow for the Clippers. Under Donald Sterling's ownership, the Clippers have toiled in the Lakers long shadow, because the Lakers are a franchise dedicated to winning and Sterling is not. This is another chance the Clippers have to wash off the stink from years of futility and right the ship. They may not get another chance.

Why I think they don't;

Because they are the Clippers and cannot help but make the wrong move. It is innate with this franchise, from Sterling on down. Memphis, a team for sale and picking at #2, will not try to move up. They'd rather save the money. The obvious suitor for the #1 spot are the Blunder. They'd be foolish, Donald Sterling foolish, not to go gang busters to acquire that top pick. They can afford to.

They can give the Clippers their third pick and another first rounder and even add next year's first round picks. The question is how far would OKC go? Would they be willing to part with Durant, Green or Westbrook? The Clippers would HAVE to demand one of them and a slew of OKC's first round picks and the Blunder may be desperate enough. They won't part with Durant, but they need to throw a Hail Mary to get Blake -it'll mean everything for that franchise. Local star stays local - that'll warm hearts and sell tickets in OKC. OKC would be quite formidable with him. Presti is smart enough to know that and Sterling is small-minded enough to look past a sure thing for a better deal.

I could not stomach the thought of Blake working for Bennett and how happy that would make him. It would be Bennett's dreams come true, and Bennett ruined many Sonic fans dreams when he moved the team. He deserves NO good karma. Blake being just out of their reach is beautiful poetic justice.

Griffin, Spanish guard Ricky Rubio and Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet are considered the top three picks with Blake being the concensus top pick. Both Rubio and Thabeet are considered projects.

The Clipper franchise needs some good press and a total makeover. This is a face saving move. If they do not pull the trigger, they will sink to even greater depths of futility and embarrassment. Drafting Blake makes sense all around for this team. Common sense says take Griffin, and I think they do.

Unfortunately, common sense does not always prevail in Clipperland.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NBA: Revenue Sharing Plans?

The NBA is in preliminary discussions to get into the revenue sharing business. Will this help or hurt the league?

NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter said that the next collective-bargaining negotiations with the league must include increased revenue sharing among clubs. Hunter wants the NBA's model to resemble the NFL's. In the NFL system, the home team receives 60% of gate revenue and the visiting team gets 40%.

Currently, the NBA's 30 teams get equal shares of TV and merchandise revenue, but do not share gate receipts. The NFL and MLB share gate receipts. Hunter claims the NBA's current revenue sharing plan is the weakest among the four major sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL).

Talks between the league and union will begin this summer, two years before the current CBA expires. Hunter believes the current system works for the players and that the NBA would have to prove to the Union that major changes should be made as a result of the current economic downturn.

Hunter and David Stern began one-on-one, informal talks in February. Hunter says he floated the idea of offering an extension of the current CBA deal, with a little tweaking here and there. He claims they rejected it, saying NBA players are not yet convinced that economic conditions at the league are so dire that the players need to make major changes.

Not yet convinced? The league already has a $180 million-dollar slush fund for teams in dire financial trouble, and more than ten teams were lining up for that money. A full third of the league needs financial help? Isn't that dire financial trouble?

Revenue sharing balances out the leagues - it takes from the rich and gives to the poor. It gives teams outside the New York market place a chance to compete. It also makes you wonder why the league would sanction moves to smaller markets where they would immediately become a drain on the system instead of a contributor. Perhaps Stern still believes large, magical palaces for teams to play in are the key to success. I doubt league owners will go along like lemmings and approve small market relocations once revenue-sharing is put in place. It's a welfare system for the neediest markets (like OKC) that cannot add to the pot, but will line up to draw from it.

Makes Aubrey McLendon's "We'll be happy if we break even" admission, that much more damaging. This is a blatant statement that they'll be in line for the handouts when they are available. These guys are not about doing what is best for the league, but rather for themselves.

"It's up to David and the owners to convince us of the urgency of the situation. We have an open mind, but this is a negotiation, not a one-sided give-away.

Will revenue sharing save the league? Will the large-market owners accept this or fight it? Small markets (ie; OKC, 26th in tv ratings, Charlotte, 30th) make no TV money and are being propped up by their larger market brethren. How will the decision to move to these smaller markets hurt Stern in the negotiation, especially when large markets are available to be exploited? Instead, Stern played small-market ball. The problem is that he doesn't bear the financial burden of these decisions...the owners will. OKC, Memphis, New Orleans, Charlotte; will Stern's only-game-in-a-small-market vision be what sinks him? Be pretty ironic, huh?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Blunder: "Another Disappointment"

As expected, the Blunder achieved another level of futility; embarrassing tv ratings. No surprise there. According to the Sports Business Journal, the Blunder averaged the second-lowest viewership in the league, with only 8,000 households tuning in to catch Blunder losses...in their FIRST season in Tornado Alley.

From the Sports Business Journal (April 27-May 3);

"Another disappointment came in Oklahoma City, where an average of just 8,000 homes watched the Thunder games on Fox Sports Oklahoma, even though this season was the team's first in the market. The Thunder moved from Seattle before the season started."
Charlotte's dismal numbers were blamed on the Bobcats slow start and the lack of HD telecasts (only 16 games were avail in HD), according to Jeff Genthner, Sr VP and GM for Fox Sports South. he said all of the Bobcat games would be in HD next season.

The Clippers posted the lowest ratings in the league for Prime Ticket, with a paltry 0.51/29,000 homes.

Looks like more than three times as many people 'accidently' tuned in to catch the Clippers, the league's long-time laughing stock, than tuned in to see Blunder games in OKC in their inaugural season. Only three teams had worse ratings than the Blunder. All of them averaged higher household viewership (except Charlotte); Charlotte, Clippers, Nets and Timberwolves.

Cleveland led the league, averaging a 8.76 rating and an astounding 134,000households tuning in. Cleveland is the 17th largest market. The Spurs were second (6.71/55,000) followed by the Jazz (5.60/49,000), Lakers (4.43/250,00, actually LOWER than last season) and the Blazers (4.40/44,000).

More Corndogs, More Losses, More Blunder, Less ratings!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bulls vs Celtics: Thanks for the Instant Classic!

The Celtics held off the feisty Bulls, 109-99, on Saturday to advance in the Eastern Conference playoffs in what has to be one of the best and most hard fought series in recent memory. Four games went into overtime to be decided including an incredible three-overtime thriller the Bulls won to stave off elimination at home. This series was a thrill-a-minute battle between the veteran champion Celtics and the young and hungry Bulls, a recipe that usually results in blowout wins by the champs. But not this series. Chicago was unquestionably the Celtics equal for at least this series. The young Bulls, led by rookie coach Vinnie Del Negro, showed poise beyond their years and made it known they will be a force in the East in the future.

Six Bulls averaged double figures in the series, led by Ben Gordon's 24 points and rookie Derrick Rose's 19. Joakim Noah averaged an impressive 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Celtics won the series without star Kevin Garnett, sidelined indefinitely with what I am hearing from inside sources is an infected knee. Will he be ready for Orlando? Only time will tell.

The road for the champs gets no easier as the Magic are every bit as formidable as the Bulls, but a balanced inside-outside game led by all-world Dwight Howard, who averaged 24 points and 16 rebounds in the Philly series. Playoff-tested Rashard Lewis adds veteran leadership.

The Boston/Orlando series could be another instant classic, especially if Garnett is healthy and available. As a former fan, who has dismissed the NBA since the disappearance of the Seattle Supersonics, I found myself drawn into the Bulls/Celtics series and could not turn away. I am not a fan of either team and perhaps my indifference to the teams allowed me to enjoy the actual competition with an unbiased view. Deep down I never thought the Celtics would lose the series as that would erase the coveted Lakers/Celtics matchup in the finals you known the NBA is drooling over. I can already see the predictable marketing onslaught of the Coast-to-Coast rematch and the plundering of the historic Bird/Magic years to build interest in it.

Truth is there is no natural connection between those two dynasties anymore. The NBA is in a completely different era - forced to pimp itself to stay topical. Back in the Bird/Magic days the natural momentum and competition drove the league. Bird, magic, Barkley, Malone, Olajuwon, Payton. It just doesn't feel like that anymore. It all seems...forced. I will be stunned if the Lakers and Celtics do not meet up in the finals. Not because I view them as the best teams, although they arguably are, but because it's the textbook matchup the NBA needs. It's the obvious sequel. Sadly, the league seems less about the game and more about the business anymore.

Anyway, thank you Boston and Chicago for a very memorable match-up. Truly one for the vaults. Probably already re-running the games on ESPN's Instant Classic series.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NBA’s Small Market Dilemma, circa 2009

As a business strategy, to be the only game in town is a legitimate one. Ask Walmart. The NBA has been trying that strategy for a few years now and with mixed results; abandon large markets that have NFL/MLB/NHL franchises, for smaller towns like Salt Lake City, where they are the only pro sports game in town. The theory is that there will be no competition for the sports dollar. Utah is a success story, but looking deeper tells the story.

The Jazz moved to SLC in 1979, even though it was a smaller market than New Orleans. In SLC’s defense, they had proven they could support a pro basketball team when they hosted the ABA’s Utah Stars from 1970 to 1976. The Stars were popular in SLC, but financially collapsed in their last two seasons, folding in December 1975 after playing only 16 games of what was ultimately the ABA's final season. Jerry Sloane came on board in 1988 and under his tenure they have been a consistent contender, reaching the playoffs in 18 of 20 seasons, including five trips to the conference finals and three to the NBA Championship. They also were lucky enough to have John Stockton, Karl Malone (combined to play 35 of their 36 seasons in Utah; Malone spent his last with the Lakers) and Sloane’s style of play to perfectly compliment their talents and discipline. It was a unique and wildly successful situation. It’s rare that an athlete or a coach stay in one place that long in sports any more. I would consider Utah to be the exception to almost every rule. The NBA flourished under Bird, Jordan, Malone and Barkley. Vancouver, Charlotte, Miami and Orlando hosted franchises as the NBA exploded in popularity.

Flash Forward to 2009.

Vancouver left for a doomed marriage to Memphis. The Charlotte Hornets went to New Orleans and then Charlotte got another team, to replace the team that left to fill the void the Jazz created when they went to SLC in 1979. We’ve come full circle! Oh, and somehow Seattle, a large market team with 41 years of history, was carted off to Oklahoma City because 10 years after giving the Coliseum a $150 million dollar face lift, the City, under pressure by Stern, refused to do it all over again.

How will small market teams be affected now that we’ve entered the age of the recession? Let’s take a look at the new landscape and theorize future affects.

Personal Expenditures during a recession.
These always drop, which means fewer tickets, hotdogs and merchandise. Economics affects expenditures on non-essential items during lean years. More guns = less butter: its econ 101. When you have a smaller pool of potential tickets purchasers, and you have a drop in interest due to recessed economy – you are likely to get hit harder in a small market. In New York where you have 15 million potential ticket buyers and the economy drops – let’s assume you eliminate 50% of you potential sales targets – that still leaves you with 7.5 million potential targets. Now, if your target base is 200,000 and you lose 50%...that is a harder hit, especially in an isolated market. This likely will result in lower ticket sales, which means less concessions and merchandise sales – the primary revenue streams.

TV ad revenue.
This once drove the league. Now, as advertising revenues shrink, networks cannot afford to pay top dollar. The proliferation of cable television helps offset that as there are more local and regional distributors, BUT local distributor means local market value - meaning much less money outside of the top markets. Ad rates are based on market size – so do the math. Even radio revenues are dwindling and that equals shrinking ad rates. If you are in a small market you are already receiving a lesser rate than the top markets – so this squeezes small market teams’ bottom line even more. Larger markets have a much larger revenue stream from local tv and radio.

Twitter Culture!
In our current ‘instant gratification' era, fans have a thousand distractions to deal with. This puts the pressure on entertainment to produce immediate results to an attention-deficit culture. Win now or fans lose interest and move on to the next shiny object vying for their attention...there are so many other things vying for consumer's time and money - a better value can be found elsewhere quickly.

Few of these can be blamed on the NBA – except over expansion. Few saw the recession coming. Where is the NBA headed? Only time will tell for sure. It seems plausible that some teams will fold. Memphis, Indiana and Sacramento are few potential candidates, who are losing big money. I am sorry to disagree with David Stern, but fancy new arenas for bad teams will not turn them around. No one ever got richer because they moved into a big new house. The NBA has a $180 million in loans it can dole out to teams in financial trouble and at least a dozen teams were vying for that money. Surely that figure will grow as financial losses pile up during this tough time.

All of these factors will make it hard for the NBA and small market to sustain, let alone grow. In these incredibly lean times, it’s going to be very interesting to see how the little guys try to stay afloat while the league drowns in debt. It’s tough to own a losing, small market franchise in any economy. In a recession, it may be impossible.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Seahawks Rock the Draft!

Tim Ruskell shined in the 2009 draft in nearly every area. Drafting Curry, stud linebacker out of Wake Forrest was a solid choice. Many speculated that Curry is the best athlete and surest thing in the draft. Only time will, but it was a great move by Ruskell to solidify one of the strongest linebacking corp in the NFL. It also took any bargaining power away from holdout Leroy Hill as he is no longer an essential sign. That was confirmed when Ruskell wisely rescinded the "franchise" tag on him, instantly freeing up over $8 million in cap space.

Max Unger is another strong move to shore up the interior offensive line with depth and versatility. Unger can play center or guard and puts instant pressure on Chris Spencer to reach his potential at center or get out of the way. A big body at 6'5 and 285, Unger played in the Senior Bowl and his stock continued to rise up until the draft.

Deon Butler broke several Penn State receiving records held by former Seahawk Bobby Engram and is the all-time receptions leader there. He adds depth and speed to a suspect receiving corp upgraded in the off-season with the addition of veteran producer, TJ Houshmazadeh. This new combo should stretch the field for the Seahawk offense and open up the running game and make stud tight end John Carlson even more dangerous underneath.

Cameron Morrah a 6'4 tight end from Cal. A 7th round pick that can spell Carlson when needed, is a strong run blocker and another big body over the middle for short yardage situations. Set the Cal season record for td receptions by a tight end with eight in his junior season. Declared before his senior season and was a starter every game his junior year.

Ruskell also acquired Denver's first round pick in next year's draft and really gave up nothing significant. The only question mark is they did nothing to strengthen the secondary which has been a glaring weakness on this team. Part of last year's meltdown can easily be attributed to injuries, a situation unlikely to repeat itself to the degree it did. Expect the Seahawks to look into free agency to get a big-bodied secondary player - likely Ken Lucas - who will be needed if that unit is going to make any significant steps forward.

Good job Ruskell!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bennett Closer to Being $30 Million Poorer!?

According the the Seattle PI:

The Bill designed to get new Seattle NBA team is moving forward in the legislative process.

A state Senate committee on Monday passed a bill that would make it easier for Seattle to get another NBA team - or for the city to collect $30 million from the Sonics-turned-Oklahoma City Thunder owner if professional basketball doesn't return to Jet City soon.

Senate Bill 6116 would allocate a portion of existing restaurant and car rental taxes to pay for the arts and housing for poor people as well as for improvements to KeyArena.

Specifically, the measure says: "If by 2013 the city of Seattle has a lease with an
NBA team the 2 percent car rental tax and the King County food and beverage tax raised
within Seattle must go to pay for bonds for necessary improvements to Key Arena."

The bill must still be approved by the full Senate and signed off on by the House. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn Sunday.

To break his lease at KeyArena and move the team, Bennett agreed to pay $45 million. He also agreed to pay the city another $30 million if the NBA doesn't send a new team to a revamped KeyArena by 2013. However as part of that deal the Legislature has to approve a revenue stream for a facility by the end of this year - or Bennett gets to keep his money.


One step closer to relieving Bennett of his $30 million!

One thing to keep in mind is that the upgrades could be used to help lure other business to the Arena, not just and NBA franshise. This is a good thing all around. An upgraded Coliseum, a potential new NBA tenant, a potentially poorer Clay Bennett!

More Corndogs, Less cash for Bennett, more Blunder!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blunder Season Finale: Stuck in the 50's!

Ah, the 50's. A wonderful time in American history. 50's history is repeating itself for the Blunder..in losses! The Blunder finish another 50 loss season under Clay Bennett; 59 losses to be exact.

Ironically, The Blunder dominated the lifeless, listless, useless Los Angeles Clippers in the season finale for both teams, 126-85. In what can only be deemed a shameful performance, the Clippers solidified their place as the league's official laughingstock with a 19-win season. Hats off to the Blunder who came to play as the Clippers shamefully gave a performance so bad, the fans truly deserve refunds and the players deserve to be docked pay for being MIA. An embarrassing display by a pitiful NBA franchise. Eric Gordon led the Clippers with 22 points.

Durant led six Blunder players in double figures with 26 points as OKC went out on a high note, but ultimately failed on their quest for the 60-loss plateau. The former Seattle SuperSonics managed to lose 59 games in their debut season in OKC, a full three games better than the disaster Clay Bennett unleashed on Seattle fans last year. The Blunder has a nice core of Westbrook, Durant and Green and have draft picks aplenty. It will be interesting to see how they use them. They MUST get an instant impact player to keep interest up in OKC and to boost season ticket sales for next season, sales figures that are likely to drop due to the recession. If they do not get the #1 lottery pick, I expect them to package up a trade consisting of multiple first-round picks over the next two seasons in a hail-Mary attempt to land Griffin.

The Blunder will have plenty of cap space, something I deem irrelevant; this team was never in cap trouble. This organization simply cannot AFFORD to max out their cap space, even with new talent. The recession damaged the owner’s pocketbooks. This season's inaugural season ticket sales were expected, but how will the recession treat next season's sales? TV and radio revenues are dwindling and for a small market team that could be disastrous. Teams used to count on that revenue, but advertising money simply isn't there in this economic climate. The Blunder have to stay far under the cap just to pay the bills and keep the lights on. As if this team will ever challenge the salary cap with this ownership group. That's just hilarious.

The Blunder treated Scott Brooks to a solid win, which have been few and far between this season. Blunder 'management' announced Brooks will stay as head coach next season after taking over for P.J. "Scapegoat" Carlesimo who was not hired to win, but to ensure losses and help get the Sonics out of Seattle. PJ did not lose on purpose, but he was clearly the wrong hire to begin with; a very old-school guy with a roster of youth. Bad combination. There were much more logical choices, like Dwayne Casey. Bennett had no intention of being competitive under PJ; their agenda was to distance themselves from the Seattle fans. PJ was the perfect fall guy; too old to coach this young group and instead, alienated them. It was evident in the ESPN game early in the season against New Orleans; PJ had no control over this team.

General manager Sam Presti said Brooks proved his ability to communicate with a young team while demonstrating the necessary passion to help players improve. The Blunder were 1-13 when Brooks took over on November 22, and went 21-47 afterward. What is curious is they only committed to him for next season - no long term deal for job security was put in place. That seems like oddly conflicting messages to the supposed leader of the team.

Blunder: 23-59, last place, three games better than last season. Viva la 50's!
Outlook: Draft positioning.
Motto: More Corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blazers Thrash Blunder as OKC Daydreams about Blake

The Portland Blazers crushed the Blunder on Monday 113-83, a game barely worthy of the term ‘professional competition’ as the Blazers led by as many as 35 in the route.

The Blazers remain locked in a three-way tie for the third seed in the Western Conference with San Antonio and Houston. They close out the regular season at home against the playoff-bound Hornets. The Blunder close out their first season in OKC with a scheduled loss against the Clippers (3-0 vs. the Blunder) on Wednesday.

Amid all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Blunder relocating to OKC and immediately making an impact - it just never happened. The Sonics team that Clay Bennett decimated in a calculated effort to aide his move, has exactly two wins more than last season. The Blunder claim victory at the ticket office. However, it's tough to know accurate attendance figures because they are easily manipulated by teams with agendas, as we all know: by inflating this year's figures to look good to the media vs. last ludicrous years' cries of "OMG...they aren't supporting the team!" Typical propaganda tactics that are convincing to the non-thinking milieu.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant who averages 25.5 points, scored only 10 points in 32 minutes for the Thunder who were led by Earl Watson's 16 points. OKC have lost six of their past seven games as they position themselves nicely for the Blake Griffin sweepstakes. Rookie Russell Westbrook added 15 points and seven assists as Brooks gave the bench heavy minutes.

From CBS Sportsline:

The Blazers stayed on track by building a lead of as many as 35 points against the hapless Thunder for their fifth consecutive victory.

Hapless sums it up nicely. Let's not forget they are hapless by design as the team attempts to build for the future. The problem is that eventually it IS the future and results are necessary to sustain interest after the new-car smell has worn off.
The Blunder needs one more loss to carry them to the 60-loss plateau, again, under Clay Bennett's guidance and vision. While the Blunder do have a nice cache of picks coming up, they desperately need a veteran presence in the middle to make them a serious contender. The trio of Durant, Westbrook and Green are a solid nucleus, but will never be enough.

OKC will face some serious off-season challenges, as all the teams will. They'll likely get a nice pick, but not necessarily one that will make an instant impact. The most intriguing situation will be the season ticket sales figures during a recession. Surely Bennett and Presti are salivating at the thought of Blake Griffin and what he could do on the court and for season ticket sales. Perhaps if they do not get the top pick, they trade this year's and next year's number one picks for it to move up. That's a long shot scenario but one the Blunder may seriously consider.

Blunder; 22-59
Next loss; Wednesday vs. the Clippers.

Oklahoma City's Nick Collison was honest about how his team did against the Blazers: "They play like adults and we don't play like that sometimes." The former Seattle Supersonics were met at the Rose Garden by former fans wearing Sonics' jerseys. One young girl’s T-shirt said "Missing my Seattle SuperSonics."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blunder Close in on 60th loss; Nuggets Close in on 2nd Seed

The Denver Nuggets win the season series against the mighty Blunder (3-1) with a convincing 122-112 win in Denver on Wednesday night. Carmelo Anthony had 31 points, five rebounds and assists as the Nuggets won their eighth straight, putting them 27 games above .500 for the first time in their 33-year NBA history. Denver can clinch the Northwest division and the second seed in the Western Conference with a win against the top-seeded Lakers Thursday night in LA.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant led OKC as usual with 31 points and 7 rebounds in as the Blunder continued their quest for 60 losses. They have lost seven of eight games down the stretch to conveniently position themselves for a lottery pick. At least Durant (41 minutes) and Green (43 minutes) played starter-minutes this time.

Russell Westbrook went 0-2 from three-point range with five turnovers and four fouls and Nick Collison and Nonads Krystac each had five fouls and ex-Wazzu star Kyle Weaver had 3 points to lead the Blunder low-lights.

More Corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder!

Blunder; 21-57
Playoff outlook; "There's always next year"
Next loss; Saturday vs Charlotte

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spurs Plunder Blunder as OKC Focuses on Blake Lottery

The Blunder continued their late season plunge as the Spurs hand OKC another loss, 99-89. Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 25 points and 15 rebounds as the Spurs played without Manu Ginobili who's been lost for the season with a ankle injury.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant led the Blunder with 24 points in 40 minutes and Jeff Green had 16 points in 42 minutes. Seems Blunder starters only play full minutes against the Spurs lately. Perhaps Blunder GM Sam Presti is motivated to beat his former team, at the risk of jeapordizing their coveted lottery status. Durant, Green and Westbrook have each seen diminished minutes during the Blunder's last few games, dating back to their last win - against the Spurs on March 31st. It is interesting the starters log full minutes against San Antonio and no one else. Is the front office only interested in winning games against the Spurs? That's not giving the fans the full effort they are (over)paying for.

If Ninendo wanted to promote an NBA game (featuring the Blunder) on their Wii system, their should be paddle motion option to simulated punching Bennett. That'd boost sales!

The Blunder have lost six of seven games.

Celebs turn out to enjoy some Blunder!

Wayman Tisdale, University Oklahoma's career scoring leader, was honored at the game. He will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November. Celebrities in the crowd included former Sooners football star Brian Bosworth. Most remember him for his hair cuts and getting run over by Bo Jackson on Monday Night football. His famously short-lived NFL career never lived up to his self-hype. Speculation centered on his steroid abuse as being a key factor in his injury-shortened career. The last time he was semi-dominant was in Tecmo Bowl.

Blunder: 21-56
Next Loss: Wednesday vs. Denver
Playoff outlook: Eliminated
Strategy; "Just lose, baby"

More corndogs! More losses! More Bosworth!