Scott Brooks Inks Multi-Year Deal With Thunder
Thunder players and fans can finally rest assured that Scott Brooks will be coaching in Oklahoma City for years to come.
According to a tweet released by the organization, Brooks signed a multi-year contract with the Thunder; per team policy, the terms were not disclosed.
Sources say the parties agreed to a four-year deal that pays Brooks approximately $18 million in guaranteed funds.
The Thunder’s press release included the following quote from Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti: “Continuing with Scott as our head coach is extremely significant for the future of our organization. As we have continually communicated, he has been integral to our success and we have a deep appreciation for his tireless dedication to our players’ development. His experiences and core values are invaluable to our players as they continue to grow and improve and we are thrilled to continue our partnership.”
The press release also included this statement from Brooks: “I would like to thank Clay Bennett and Sam Presti for the opportunity to continue with the Thunder. Oklahoma City is a special place and I’m eager to build upon the foundation and culture of this franchise for years to come.”
It appeared to be a touch-and-go situation as recent rumors swirled around the subject, suggesting the Thunder and Brooks were far apart in negotiations. Names such as Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy were attached as possible replacement candidates. Further, Brooks’ name was tied to the Portland Trail Blazers and Orlando Magic as they continue their coaching search.
Throughout this brief offseason, Presti insisted that securing Brooks was on his immediate to-do list. Brooks’ existing contract expired June 30, 2012.
It certainly made little sense to think the Thunder would readily give him up after he took the team to a Western Conference title, followed by 2011-12 NBA Finals appearance. Even so, Brooks’ agent, Warren LeGarie, recently confirmed negotiations were rocky, perhaps tougher than expected.
“Anything worthwhile in life, sometimes you have to go through some difficult moments and ultimately realize it’s something you want,” said LeGarie to Sam Amick with Sports Illustrated. “You have to realize that, ultimately, this is something that’s very important to me and I think that’s what Scott decided. Clearly he feels that whatever went on was worth it to him, because he ultimately is where he wanted to be.”
And then, the zinger.
“That was certainly a concern (that Brooks would be forced to look to coach elsewhere), yes,” LeGarie added.
No doubt many teams would welcome a coach who has led a team from a .280 win/loss percentage in his interim coach season (2008-09) to .610 (2009-10; a season that also saw Brooks being named the NBA’s Coach of the Year), then .671 (2010-11) and finally, .712 (2011-12).
In the three years since the interim tag was removed, Brooks has won 152 of 230 games played (or .661 winning percentage). In the postseason, his team won 24 of 43 total played (.558).
Based on these records under his watch, Brooks would naturally expect a salary commensurate with such accomplishments. He reportedly made $2.1 million last season; year three was an option deal that the Thunder picked up. While it appears both sides had reached an agreement on a four-year term a few days ago, negotiations continued until mutual agreement on the dollar amount was attained.
At the salary apparently agreed upon, Brooks is now among the higher tier of NBA coach salaries.
Brooks has built a special relationship with his squad; they have bought into his system and benefit from his motivational speeches, both in-game and off-court. One would have to search hard to locate any disparaging comments made by his players. The only example that comes to mind was when Kendrick Perkins appeared to question the lineup in Game 4 of the Finals. He never mentioned Brooks by name; the next day, he clarified his remarks saying his words were not a criticism of Brooks’ coaching decisions.
Otherwise, the players publicly praise him, and many have made their desires known with regard to his future. They want to continue on the journey with him. And so it continues.