Trouble In Thunderland? We May Never Know
By Randy Renner
A guy I've never heard of tweeted that Thunder superstar point guard Russell Westbrook is not a happy camper in Thunderland these days.
Justin Termine is the guy's name and I've never heard of him mostly because I don't listen to satellite radio I guess. He does a show based out of New York City and yesterday he tweeted this:
"Sources: Thunder consulted w/Durant on hiring of Donovan but not Westbrook...This has Westbrook upset with organization."
Immediately the "Twitterverse" was on fire and if there's any truth to the tweet Westbrook was disrespected by his Thunder bosses.
Not knowing Justin Termine nor his sources, it's impossible to know how accurate, or not, that information is.
Thunder GM Sam Presti told reporters during his news conference a few hours after firing Scott Brooks that he had not spoken with any players before making the move. In an email exchange with The Oklahoman last night Presti was asked about the tweet and about Westbrook's feelings toward the organization.
This is the response he gave the paper.
"As I have stated before, I do not feel it is in the best interest of the guys, or team collectively, if we were to poll our players in regards to specific personnel or staff decisions. However, we have spent a significant amount of time over the last seven-plus seasons discussing, observing and defining our culture with our players, which we feel is important given their role in building the identity for the Thunder. One aspect of this recent process was to have specific conversations with several core members of the program, including Kevin and Russell, regarding important qualities that should be considered in looking for our next head coach. Fortunately, our continuity and communication over the years in combination with our more recent discussions gave us an understanding that there is an alignment with regards to the qualities that we felt were important to our progression and evolution. Multiple people within the organization have been in contact with Russ and he will be in town later this week to meet with the staff."
Westbrook will get a chance then to sit down with Billy Donovan and Presti and iron out any differences they might have. However, Presti also said Westbrook will represent the Thunder during this month's NBA Draft Lottery drawing so it would seem Russ doesn't have any serious problems with the organization.
Westbrook has not commented publically about any of this, so it's impossible to gauge what his true feelings are. We don't know if he'll be made available to reporters after his face-to-face visit with Donovan and Presti.
I'd be shocked if the Thunder actually consulted with Durant specifically about Donovan and didn't say a word to Russ. Doesn't sound like a sound way to do business. If you're going to talk with one, you probably better talk to the other and if you're going to talk with them you probably better add in guys like Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison too.
Presti says none of that happened. The Thunder GM can dance around questions with the best of them and answer something without really saying anything. But I don't remember him ever being caught in a bald-faced lie.
My guess is, once the players have a chance to sit down and get to know Billy Donovan everything will be fine, at least till the start of training camp when whatever words were spoken in May will show themselves as true or not come practice time in October.