Thunder-Bolt: Scott Brooks Is Fired, Paving The Way For Change In Oklahoma City

The time has finally come for change with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Brooks took over as Oklahoma City head coach for the final 69 games of the 2008-2009 season, finishing with a 22-47 record. From that point forward he mainly enjoyed nothing but success. The Thunder went 316-160 (a .690 winning percentage) in the six full seasons under his watch. The playoff results were more of a mixed bag due to injuries and some stubbornness from Brooks regarding his rotation (overplaying Kendrick Perkins specifically comes to mind). OKC made it to the NBA Finals once, the Western Conference Finals twice, the second round once, and was eliminated in the first round a single time.

One of the more interesting aspects of the decision is what it means for the Thunder going forward. Kevin Durant is an unrestricted free agent after the 2015-‘16 season. Russell Westbrook is a highly emotional but loyal figure who will be a free agent two seasons from now. Both stars have staunchly defended Brooks in the past.

A big question was whether Thunder general manager Sam Presti involved his two highest profile players. At this point, it seems that they weren’t:

Here are two potential replacements that have come up in the immediate aftermath of Brooks’s firing:

Billy Donovan is currently the head coach at the University of Florida and Fred Hoiberg is running the basketball program over at Iowa State.

It would seem like a risky move to go with a coach that has zero experience coaching at the NBA level (not even as an assistant) with a roster constructed to immediately compete for a championship.

Brooks did well with Oklahoma City, but the front office decided it was the right moment to go in a different direction.

We won’t find out for at least a year – maybe even more – if it was the right play or not. The outcome of the 2015-’16 season, combined with the franchise’s ability to retain Durant and Westbrook for the long haul, will determine if firing Scott Brooks pours more sunshine into the Thunder’s existence.