People around former Thunder coach Scott Brooks believe he never had a chance this year and that GM Sam Presti had long planned to replace him with Billy Donovan or Kevin Ollie, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Ollie’s sizable buyout, which Wojnarowski refers to as $5MM but previous reporting indicated was $4MM, was a “non-starter” for the Thunder, according to Wojnarowski. The Pistons made a run at hiring Donovan last year, Wojnarowski reveals in the same piece. Here’s more in the wake of the Thunder’s hiring of Donovan on Thursday:
- Kevin Durant tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com that he wants to gather as much information on Donovan as possible and that he isn’t thinking about how the hire could affect his decision as free agency looms in a year (See all six Twitter links here). He also expressed a trust in Presti, who didn’t consult with him during the hiring process. “I know what my job is,” Durant said to Goodman. “I let him do his.”
- Durant downplayed Donovan’s lack of NBA experience in an interview with Royce Young of ESPN.com and said he spoke with Mike Miller and Chandler Parsons, both of whom played under Donovan at Florida. “I met him one time out in Vegas. He was there for USA Basketball,” Durant said of Donovan in his chat with Young. “And I’ve heard good things about him. I’m sure we’ll click pretty quickly. But I don’t have a relationship with him. I don’t know him. He didn’t recruit me at Florida, so I don’t really know him too well. I’m just going off of what guys that played for him said. And I’m looking forward to meeting him and getting a feel for him myself.”
- The Thunder’s choice of Donovan is a bold but worthwhile gamble, USA Today’s Sam Amick argues. There’s risk in hiring just about any coach, The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel believes, but Donovan’s success with and without NBA talent made him stand out to Presti, Tramel writes.