Former Thunder coach Scott Brooks plans to decline opportunities to interview with the Pelicans and Nuggets and seems to be leaning toward taking next season off, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. It’s not entirely clear from the report whether New Orleans, Denver or both had extended invitations to interview for their vacancies, though Wojnarowski wrote Monday that the Pels were interested in the coach whom Oklahoma City dismissed last month. The Yahoo! scribe heard from league sources who identified Brooks as a top candidate for Denver and for the Magic in the immediate wake of his exodus from the Thunder, and Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote recently that Brooks was second behind Tom Thibodeau on Orlando’s list of preferred candidates. It’s uncertain what Brooks would do if the Magic came calling, but Wojnarowski (on Twitter) describes Brooks as “likely” to sit out 2015/16.
Brooks spent most of the last seven seasons as the Thunder’s coach, his first NBA head coaching gig. His 338-207 record there is impeccable, but he’s only 39-34 in the playoffs and took the vastly talented Thunder to the NBA Finals only once, losing to the Heat in 2012. Still, the lack of postseason success had to do with injuries as much as it did with any of Brooks’ strategic shortcomings to which critics often pointed, and health was the culprit this season as Oklahoma City missed the playoffs. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, the team’s preeminent stars, all missed significant time in 2014/15.
The 49-year-old Brooks still wants to coach again at some point, but he’s planning to concentrate on television opportunities and family in the season ahead, Wojnarowski hears. Oklahoma City will still be paying Brooks his salary next season, as Wojnarowski points out, since his contract had one more guaranteed season left when the team cut him loose, so the coach has the financial wherewithal to stay out of the game for a while.