Thunder Thanks Brooks, Looks to Transition and Progress

Staring a difficult decision square in the face, the Thunder deliberately and confidently made its choice on Wednesday, with its thoughts solely placed on the future.

By parting ways with Scott Brooks, the Thunder will be making a change at the head coaching position for just the second time since the team arrived in Oklahoma City. It was a difficult day for the entire organization, but a necessary one for the team to continue pushing itself to be the best it can be.

With its eyes on the future of the program -- not just for the 2015-16 campaign but for years to come -- the Thunder looks at the impending opportunity to hire a new head coach as one that can help the franchise usher in growth and development for the group. While specifics about candidates or qualities those candidates must possess haven’t been narrowed down, General Manager Sam Presti and his staff will certainly be looking for someone who fits in with the ethos of the organization and its city.

“Change in organizations is necessary at times, as much as continuity is required for lasting success, change and transition are the engine for progress and evolution,” Presti said. “And so, we are embracing that change and looking toward the next stage in the development of our organization in Oklahoma City.”

Presti flew to California to speak with Brooks about the decision that resulted from a long days of thought and evaluation since the 2014-15 season ended, emphasizing how much respect the organization has for its former head coach. Brooks’ contributions over the past eight years that he’s been with the team leaves a shining legacy in the history of the organization.

Rather than thinking in a reactive way to seasons past, the decision to move forward was based on what lies ahead as opposed to anything in the past. The Thunder’s 45-37 season and the fact that the team missed the playoffs due to a tie breaker was certainly not what the organization envisioned for the 2014-15 season, but as Presti explained, it was not a determining factor in Wednesday’s decision.

“It is important to stress that this decision is not connected or related to the results of last season,” Presti said. “In fact, I do not know if anyone could have done a better job than Scott given the circumstances we encountered. This decision is simply based on our assessment of what is needed for our organization as we look to the future.”

“This is a transition, one that we feel we need to stimulate the program at this particular time and allow us to evolve, progress and ultimately sustain that progress,” Presti continued.

While at the Thunder’s helm, Brooks ushered in the development of young players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka while also taking the team to three-out-of-four Western Conference Finals and one NBA Finals appearance. By guiding the Thunder to a 338-207 (.620) mark over the past seven seasons, including four consecutive Northwest Division titles, Brooks fostered a team that was consistent and played hard every single night.

An ambassador for the team, Brooks’ presence in the community set an example for all within the organization. The impact the former 10-year NBA veteran point guard had in establishing a culture and identity inside the walls of the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center will have a lasting effect in Oklahoma City for years to come.

“There is no way to quantify what Scott has meant to this organization, nor direct the necessary amount of praise for getting us to this point in our development,” Presti said.

“We have deep, deep respect for Scott Brooks as a professional and a person, and whomever will assume the position of the next Thunder Head Coach will have a great foundation to work off of thanks to Scott,” Presti continued.

The Thunder’s decision is one that allows the team to advance, progress and open itself up to new opportunities. The verve created by change can stimulate growth and improvement, but that wouldn’t be possible without the foundation already laid in Oklahoma City.

The standards that have been set inside the walls of the practice facility and in Chesapeake Energy Arena have stemmed from the seven years of work that the players and staff have put forth. The team’s merit has always been derived by the habits it builds and the way it challenges each member of the organization to reach new heights. Wednesday’s decision is an extension of that philosophy, as the Thunder hopes to use the platform already created to further stretch its wings to become the best it can possibly be.

“What allows us to make this transition today are the values of the organization, the pride and confidence we have in our players and staff, the understanding that we all are accountable and committed to working to improve the Thunder, and the continued belief that we have to put the organization’s needs above all else, even in the most challenging of circumstances,” Presti explained.