The Oklahoma City Thunder fired head coach Scott Brooks on April 22 after a 45-37 season, the team's first non-playoff campaign in six years.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have fired head coach Scott Brooks.
The Thunder issued a press release on the team parting ways with Brooks on its official website on April 22.
Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti told the Thunder's official website on Wednesday it was "an extremely difficult decision":
"This is an extremely difficult decision on many levels. Scott helped establish the identity of the Thunder and has earned his rightful place in the history of our organization through his seven years as a valued leader and team member.
"As we all know, this past year we had unique and challenging circumstances and as I have conveyed, not many people could have accomplished what Scott and this team were able to.
"Therefore, it is very important to state that 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.
"We move forward with confidence in our foundation and embrace the persistence and responsibility that is required to construct an elite and enduring basketball organization capable of winning an NBA championship in Oklahoma City."
A separate update on the the team's official website says Presti flew to California to inform Brooks about the decision, which is the end product of a long thought process which began when the Thunder were eliminated from postseason contention earlier this month.
The press release on the Thunder's official website states a search for Brooks' replacement will begin immediately.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski identifies college coaches Billy Donovan and Kevin Ollie of the Florida Gators and Connecticut Huskies, respectively, as candidates for the Thunder head coaching job.
Donovan and Presti have been long-time friends while Ollie was teammates with Oklahoma City superstars Russell Westbroook and Kevin Durant, per Wojnarowksi.
However, Yahoo! Sports also obtained a statement from a UConn spokesman saying Ollie has no "plans" to pursue other job vacancies.
As for Brooks, he is expected to be considered for the vacant head-coaching postitions with the Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic, per Wojnarowski.
Durant, the 2013-14 NBA MVP who missed 55 games this season due to a foot injury, paid tribute to Brooks on Instagram on April 22:
For his part, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told ESPN's Royce Young on Wednesday how he holds Brooks in high esteem:
"One's always sad when a colleague gets let go. We're all in situations where it's pretty volatile and ever-changing, that's for sure. But Scotty Brooks has done a heck of a job, is a hard-working, talented coach; a good man.
"He won't have to wait very long to be a head coach again in the league. He's a quality guy."
The Thunder hired Brooks on April 15, 2009. He finished with a 338-207 (.620) win-loss record over the course of seven seasons and led Oklahoma City to three Western Conference Finals appearances in 2011, 2012 and 2014 and the NBA Finals against the eventual champions Miami Heat in 2012, per the Thunder's official website.
Brooks was proclaimed the 2009-10 NBA Coach of the Year after guiding the Thunder to a 50-32 (.610) win-loss record, a 27-game turnaround from the year before, per LandOfBasketball.com.
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