JUNE 29TH, 11:06pm: The Thunder and Brooks are finally "getting close" to a deal, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports.
3:26pm: According to Ric Bucher of ESPN.com, the Thunder have increased their offer to roughly $16MM for four years. But a source familiar with the negotiations tells Bucher, "We're not close, and the clock is ticking."
JUNE 28TH, 5:14pm: The two sides continue to negotiate a new deal, and $4MM per year is still the tipping point, tweets TNT's David Aldridge.
3:15pm: The Thunder has included a fourth year in its offer to Brooks, but the sides are still far apart on money, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. The Blazers could offer their coaching job to Brooks if talks break down, Wojnarowski hears.
JUNE 22ND, 11:48am: Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman tweets that, despite "growing speculation" the two sides are far apart in extension talks, GM Sam Presti says he hopes Brooks will coach the Thunder "for years to come" (Twitter link).
8:42am: It hasn't even been 12 hours since the Thunder's 2011/12 season came to an end in Miami, but it won't be long before Oklahoma City is tasked with a number of off-court decisions. Chief among those decisions is the contract status of Scott Brooks, whose current deal expires at the end of June. We heard last weekend that the Thunder had offered Brooks a three-year, $11MM contract, which Brooks didn't accept. Now, ESPN.com's Marc Stein brings us the latest on the negotiations between the Western Conference champs and their coach.
According to Stein, the Thunder have upped their offer to Brooks to north of $4MM annually. However, the team is still resistant to the idea of a four-year contract, preferring a two- or three-year deal instead. While the two sides still appear likely to hammer out an agreement at some point, Stein's sources caution that extension talks have been "slow-moving for weeks" and that concern is rising within the organization that an agreement isn't a slam dunk.
Stein adds that the Thunder have started internally discussing potential backup plans, should talks with Brooks collapse. Two names that have surfaced, Stein says, are Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy.
If the Thunder aren't willing to meet Brooks' contract demands, I'd be surprised if they were willing to shell out the money necessary to land a big-name coach like Jackson or Van Gundy. I wonder if this leak is coming from the team in an effort to regain some leverage by suggesting Brooks isn't the only attractive option out there. Either way, I think the smart money is still on Oklahoma City and Brooks coming to some sort of agreement in the coming days.