After losing 12 of 13 games to start the season, P.J. Carlesimo has been fired as Oklahoma City Thunder coach, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Assistant Scott Brooks will take over as the interim coach beginning with Saturday night’s game against the Hornets in New Orleans.
The final indignity for Carlesimo was a mortifying 105-80 loss to the Hornets on Friday night in Oklahoma City. General manager Sam Presti informed Carlesimo of the decision before the team boarded the flight to Louisiana.
Before the feeble start to this season, Carlesimo was 20-62 a season ago in Seattle. As the assistant GM in San Antonio, Presti had worked with Carlesimo, an aide on Gregg Popovich’s coaching staff. Presti and owner Clay Bennett considered firing him over the summer, but allowed Carlesimo a chance to salvage a second chance. With a roster gutted of veterans, this was a difficult job from the start.
After building a reputation as an unrepentant screamer in his first two NBA jobs in Portland and Golden State, Carlesimo sold himself as reformed with a five-year stay on Popovich’s staff. He insisted that he learned the art of developing relationships with players under the four-time champion Spurs coach, but several sources insisted that he reverted back to the strident ways that precipitated the Latrell Sprewell attack in 1999.
In parts of eight seasons as an NBA coach with Portland, Golden State and Seattle-Oklahoma City, Carlesimo had a 204-296 record.