The Oklahoma City Thunder have fired Scott Brooks after he was in charge of the team for seven seasons, but failed to get them to a championship.
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General manager Sam Presti made the announcement on Wednesday and admitted that it was a difficult decision for the organisation to reach after such a long and successful relationship with Brooks.
The former Thunder coach guided the team to the NBA Finals in 2012 where they were defeated by the Miami Heat, and Brooks’ failure to win a championship is essentially what this decision has come down to.
With Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka forming the core of the team and the franchise backing him ahead of the trade deadline this year by adding quality and depth to the roster, the 49-year-old was still unable to deliver a title.
However, that was undoubtedly largely down to the fact that he was bitterly unlucky with injuries as Ibaka was absent for part of the Western Conference finals last year while both he and Durant missed time at the end of this season.
OKC eventually missed out on a place in the playoffs this year due to the head-to-head tiebreaker with the New Orleans Pelicans, and it was seemingly the final straw for the front office who have moved to replace him.
“This is an extremely difficult decision on many levels,” general manager Sam Presti said in a statement, as reported by ESPN.
“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. 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.”
Brooks recently told reporters that he was confident that he would be back for the final year of his contract, but he leaves with a .620 winning percentage with the team and was crowned the NBA Coach of the Year back in 2009/10.
However, he will now start the process of looking for another job while it remains to be seen what effect his departure has on Durant who will become a free agent next summer.