The Oklahoma City Thunder have fired head coach Scott Brooks, the team announced Wednesday. The news, which was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, comes after a disappointing 2014-15 season that included rumors of possible changes to the coaching staff.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti traveled to California on Wednesday to inform Brooks of the decision, Wojnarowski reports.
Presti called this an "extremely difficult decision on many levels" in a statement.
"As we all know, this past year we had unique and challenging circumstances and as I have conveyed, not many people could have accomplished what Scott and this team were able to. Therefore, it is very important to state that this decision is not a reflection of this past season, but rather an assessment of what we feel is necessary at this point in time in order to continually evolve, progress and sustain," Presti said. "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."
Ousted in OKC
Ousted in OKC
Presti did not consult star players Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook before making his decision, according to USA Today's Sam Amick.
Brooks was hired midway through the 2008-09 season after P.J. Carlesimo was let go. In his first full season with the Thunder, he led them to the playoffs, where they would lose to the Lakers in the first round. The team made incremental progress from there and got to the NBA Finals in the 2012 before losing to the Heat. After that, James Harden was traded and injuries plagued the Thunder, culminating in the team missing the playoffs this season and Brooks' dismissal.
However, the move "wasn't a reflection of the job Brooks did this season, but ultimately a long-view for the franchise," according to Wojnarowski.
Brooks has a winning percentage of .620 during his seven-year career and won Coach of the Year in 2009-10. He's already considered a top candidate for the head coaching openings with the Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets, according to Wojnarowski, so he may not be unemployed for long.
The Thunder are reportedly interested in pursuing University of Florida coach Billy Donovan, who has a personal relationship with Presti. Donovan has spent the past few years turning down opportunities in the NBA, but could be ready to leave the Gators and make the leap for the right situation.