Thunder GM Sam Presti admits that former coach Scott Brooks had plenty of positive influence on the franchise, and The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson believes that Brooks’ development of Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams and others is a testament to his value. Carlson argues that at full health, the team was better in 2012/13 and 2013/14 than it was when it went to the Finals in 2012, and that Brooks was central to the Thunder’s continued improvement. While we wait to see if Oklahoma City’s next coach wins the title that the Thunder didn’t get under Brooks, here’s more from OKC:
- Grantland’s Zach Lowe suggests that the Thunder will take a close look at former Kings coach Michael Malone and Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry if their top choices don’t pan out. Kevin Ollie, one of those reported top targets, has pulled out of the running.
- There was little grounds for termination in this injury-plagued season for the Thunder and Brooks, Lowe argues in the same piece, contending that if the Thunder had decided he wasn’t fit to lead them to a championship, they should have reached that conclusion earlier. The Grantland scribe wonders if the cost of paying off more than one year of Brooks’ contract made Oklahoma City hesitate to make the move sooner.
- Accountability from players had become a problem in Oklahoma City under Brooks, sources tell Royce Young of ESPN.com, but the team’s move to cut ties with the coach is about the future and not the past, Young writes. The stakes are high as Kevin Durant enters a contract year, and the Thunder won’t settle for continuity, as Young details.
- It’s no surprise that the Thunder would want to hold on to soon-to-be restricted free agent Enes Kanter, who excelled after the midseason trade that brought him to Oklahoma City, and Presti envisions the big man sticking around, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater relays. “We wouldn’t have traded for him if we didn’t feel like we’d be in a position to have him with us going forward,” Presti said. Kanter has expressed a desire to stay, though he just underwent left knee surgery that will sideline him for four to six weeks.