The Trump administration has hit new lows since the NBA All-Star Break and the fire-sale this week indicates that they are entering full-on tank mode—for the non-sports fans, “tanking” is the strategic choice by a team to not be as good as they could be.
With prospects like Deandre Ayton and Trump favorite Luka Doncic available in this year’s draft, a decision had to be made. Rather than toil away below mediocrity as a fringe democracy, the White House decided it’s best to race to the bottom. In politics as in basketball, if you’re going to be bad, you want to be completely inept.
Let’s break down the moves made this week and how they help these efforts.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Firing Rex Tillerson is a great step towards making this administration a full-on dumpster fire. Tillerson had become problematic to the tank job—he was always a little too good. While not a standout diplomat by any means, there was always the fear of Tillerson putting together a semi-competent performance during any high-stakes, international negotiation. The administration is now relieved of the constant fear of Tillerson's accidental adequacy.
Chief Economics Officer Gary Cohn
Let’s face it, Gary Cohn was never part of the franchise’s long-term plan so his departure amid this shift in direction is not surprising. Cohn and the rest of the administration had voiced differing views on trade and other issues. In Cohn’s eyes, the administration’s failures were due to a lack of first-round draft capital and an acceptance that the West is running through Adam Smith for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Trump feels like it's no coincidence that Stephon Marbury is playing for the Beijing Flying Dragons now.
Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe
The abrupt release of Andrew McCabe indicates that the administration is not shy about being obvious with this tank job and is fully embracing #TheProcess. Anytime a franchise is entering a rebuild, some amount of frustration and corruption is to be expected. But, in parting ways with McCabe, the administration has put the league on notice that they mean obstruction.
Don’t be surprised if the administration cleans house even further in the coming weeks. With Republicans throughout the country poised to lose this November, the White House hopes to maintain cap flexibility in order to sign any big-name legislators that are cut loose from other jurisdictions. Expect fireworks from the front office this fall as the ownership in Moscow is comfortable with spending into the luxury tax.
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