The NBA’s postseason may be front and center right now, but for many teams, a momentous offseason has also already begun.
Wednesday afternoon offered a telling reminder of that, when Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder fired head coach Scott Brooks after seven years of service.
In his time leading Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Co., Brooks compiled a very impressive resume. As OKC’s only coach since the franchise immigrated from Seattle (where they were, of course, the SuperSonics), he had a .620 winning percentage in the regular season, and went to the NBA Finals in 2012, where the Thunder lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
He also led his team to two Western Conference Finals appearances in which they came up short, including a loss to the San Antonio Spurs last year — the team who went on to win the title.
Serge Ibaka missed the first two games of that series, and Durant missed more than half of this season. Westbrook missed most of the playoffs in 2013. Injuries, in short, have done a number to this squad that looked like a safe bet to win a championship, or even a few, not too long ago.
According to Wojnarowski, Brooks’ firing was not the result of missing the playoffs this season — the first time the Thunder missed that benchmark since 2009 — but was a decision made more with a long-term view for the team in mind.
As for Brooks? He’s expected to land on his feet soon, as the Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets are said to be interested in him as the man for their respective openings.
— John Wilmes