Oklahoma City Thunder fires Coach Scott Brooks

The Oklahoma City Thunder fires Coach Scott Brooks after seven seasons with the team

Scott Brooks' tenure as coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder is over.

The Thunder fired Brooks on Wednesday, a week after the team failed to reach the postseason after last year's trip to the Western Conference finals. Injuries to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka played a significant role in the Thunder finishing with a 45-37 record -- 14 wins below their 2013-14 mark.

“This is an extremely difficult decision on many levels," Sam Presti, Thunder executive vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "Scott helped establish the identity of the Thunder and has earned his rightful place in the history of our organization through his seven years as a valued leader and team member.

“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."

Brooks compiled a 338-207 record in his seven seasons with the team, including one NBA Finals appearance and three trips to the conference finals. He won the 2009-10 NBA Coach of the Year award.

However, Brooks' inability to deliver a championship to Oklahoma City coupled with the team's struggles this season made him a target for criticism. Last week, Yahoo Sports reported the Thunder brass was evaluating whether to bring back Brooks for the final year of his contract.

Brooks said during exit interviews Thursday that he expected to be back with the team next season.

"We haven't won a championship, but we've done a lot of things that have put us in that position," Brooks said. "We've had some unfortunate bad fortune going back to three years ago, so you never really know what this team can really be until it can stay healthy throughout the season and, most importantly, this part of the season."

Brooks also had the support of his best player, Durant.

"He made sure everybody was emotionally stable because we had a lot of guys in and out of the lineup and he kept everybody together," Durant said. "That's what your head coach is supposed to do. I can't really say nothing about it because he did his job. He kept us together."

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
47°