By Randy Renner
Another day and another report that the Thunder are actively searching for a new head coach and that would be fine if the Thunder had an opening at that position.
So it's time now for Thunder GM Sam Presti to come out and say something about Brooks' job status, don't let a coach who's been a good soldier all these years just twist in the wind with every media report and rumor.
A few weeks ago when rumors were flying that Travis Ford was about to lose his job at OSU, Cowboys athletic director Mike Holder issued a statement saying Ford's job was secure and that ended that.
Even Presti issued a statement toward the end of the regular season when wild internet reports suggested the Thunder would trade Kevin Durant rather than let him get away in free agency.
But on this issue, so far only silence from Presti. Maybe that's because he's already got a general news conference scheduled with reporters for Friday to discuss the Thunder's season. It's his annual end of the season visit, though it's coming about a week later than it usually does. Maybe that's because the season ended earlier than Presti thought it would and he had other things going on. Maybe it's because he really has been out talking with other coaches.
As it currently stands (as far as we know at least) Scott Brooks is still the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Last week when he spoke with reporters he told us “I expect to be the coach (next season) and I'm proud to be the coach of this organization. I love being here," Brooks said on Thursday.
He was asked about his future because earlier that day the first national report came out that Brooks' boss might already be looking for his replacement and again so far Presti has been silent on the reports which is adding some fuel to what is becoming a sizeable fire.
Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who is perhaps the most respected NBA reporter out there, broke the original story saying Presti would fully evaluate Brooks' job performance before bringing him back for the last guaranteed year of his contract and Woj said if the Thunder decided to fire Brooks a couple of candidates might already be waiting in the wings, University of Florida coach Billy Donovan and University of Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie.
The fact Woj wrote that piece gave it instant credibility, though one has to assume Presti evaluates everyone's job performance every season.
Then yesterday another report about Ollie. This one from SNY.tv (the cable channel that telecasts UConn basketball games along with Nets basketball, Mets baseball and Rangers hockey in the New York area) saying that Ollie is under "serious consideration" to take over for Brooks and that Presti had visited with Ollie at least three times recently.
If Brooks had already been fired most of us here in the local media would probably assume Kevin Ollie would be at or near the top of the Thunder's wish list. He was a highly respected player and was on the Thunder roster during the 2009-10 season, the first in which the Thunder made the playoffs. Kevin Durant has always spoken highly of Ollie, saying in a 2014 interview after Ollie led the UConn Huskies to the national championship, “Kevin Ollie, he was a game-changer for us. He changed the whole culture, I think. He might not say it, but I think he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City.”
Ollie has also already been considered for a couple of NBA jobs with the Cavaliers and the Lakers and it's widely assumed he will be a head coach in the NBA someday soon.
Ollie has remained close with Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Presti. And with Brooks too for that matter.
It seems strange and out of character that Ollie and Presti would actually meet to discuss an opening that doesn't exist and stab a coach in the back who has towed the company line since before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City.
That's why Presti needs to quash these rumors now, it's unseemly, it's disrespectful, it's not the "Thunder way." And remember he wasted no time in putting a stop to the KD trade reports.
If he doesn't, if this is allowed to percolate on the front pages of newspapers and websites and in the first segments of TV newscasts all the way to that Friday news conference then something is truly up and someone may in fact be out.