Thunder GM Sam Presti was adamant that Scott Brooks wasn’t paying the price for the team’s injury riddled campaign, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com writes. “It is very important to state that this decision is not a reflection of this past season,” Presti said, “but rather an assessment of what we feel is necessary at this point in time in order to continually evolve, progress and sustain. We determined that, in order to stimulate progress and put ourselves in the best position next season and as we looked to the future, a transition of this kind was necessary for the program.”
Here’s more chatter regarding Brooks’ dismissal:
- Brooks doesn’t appear to be on the Timberwolves’ radar to replace Flip Saunders, which would allow Saunders to concentrate on his front office duties, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune tweets. The agreement that Saunders, who also serves as president of basketball operations, made to coach the team is open-ended in terms of length. But team owner Glen Taylor has indicated that his team would be healthier in the long run if it signed a top-notch coach and Saunders was strictly an executive.
- Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press concurs with Zgoda’s assessment, tweeting that Brooks isn’t likely to be the one to get Saunders to leave behind his bench duties in Minnesota.
- The Thunder have been trying to get Kevin Ollie to leave UConn for over a year, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv writes. Despite loving his job and being loyal to the school, if Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook want Ollie there as coach to make a run at a title, he wouldn’t be able to pass it up, a league source told Zagoria.
- The wording in the Thunder’s press release regarding Brooks’ dismissal read like the franchise was attempting to justify firing the coach to itself, Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press tweets.
- The firing of Brooks has placed the onus to retain Durant when he hits free agency squarely on Presti, Ben Golliver of SI.com writes. By parting ways with Brooks, the GM is trying to show Durant that he is proactive, and that he is willing to be as aggressive regarding the coaching staff as he is in pulling the trigger on trades, Golliver adds.
- Former Kings coach Michael Malone is a darkhorse candidate to take over as coach of the Thunder, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. While the Oklahoman scribe isn’t sure if OKC has interest in Malone, he does opine that Malone’s skill with coaching younger players would make him an excellent fit for the Thunder.