Dean's Blog: Reacting To Scott Brooks' Firing
OKLAHOMA CITY - Sam Presti pulled the plug on the likable and successful Scott Brooks for one simple reason: the Thunder's well-respected GM decided a new voice/a new direction would provide a better chance to elevate this team to another level. As in NBA championship. Now.
It's essential to understand the No. 1 goal of the organization is to re-sign Kevin Durant when he becomes an unrestricted free agent following this season. And while Durant likes Brooks, he likes winning more.
A source on an NBA payroll just told me Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg was contacted a couple of months ago about his interest – not necessarily by Presti, but someone with the authority to speak with the coach about his interest in making the jump. While dealing with heart surgery, Hoiberg could also soon be dealing with an offer to replace Tom Thibodeau as head coach of the Bulls.
Another source reveals that Florida's Billy Donovan felt strongly enough about possibly coaching the Thunder that he's done significant due-diligence on what it'd be like to coach Kevin Durant.
And of course UConn's Kevin Ollie has been mentioned as a strong candidate as he established himself to be of impeccable character in his days as a Thunder player that Presti was hoping to hire Ollie on his staff. As important, KD and Ollie are very tight; so much so that the relationship has been described as Ollie being KD's mentor. Hello contract extension. But only if Ollie had given KD reason to believe championships can be had in OKC.
Many people are disregarding Ollie's released statement today essentially saying he loves it at UConn and is not pursuing other jobs. I understand semantics could be in play, but the timing of his statement and the fact that he has such a trusted professional relationship with the Huskies leads me to put some stock in his comments. If he were going to be hired soon by Presti I don't know what would lead Ollie to release a statement like that.