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The Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to spend time evaluating the partnership with coach Scott Brooks before committing to bring him back for the final year on his contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Brooks is guaranteed for the 2015-16 season on his deal, with the Thunder holding a team option for 2016-17, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Oklahoma City missed the playoffs for the first time in six years on Wednesday, finishing 45-37 with superstar Kevin Durant lost for most of the year. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has to decide an organizational direction for the final year of Durant's contract, and that will include a decision about whether Brooks is ultimately the coach most capable of delivering a healthy Thunder roster to a championship. Brooks is well liked within the organization and has forged close relationships with management and players in his seven years as head coach.
Several league sources close to Brooks have doubts about his job security.
If a change comes, University of Florida coach Billy Donovan could emerge as a serious candidate to coach Oklahoma City, league sources said. Presti has a longstanding friendship with Donovan, a two-time national championship coach who has been open about his interest in moving to the NBA.
Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie would be a candidate for the Thunder's coaching job if it opens, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Ollie was a teammate with Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City and he's an individual whom Presti holds in high esteem.
Two years ago, Presti and Brooks' representative had a difficult negotiation process on an eventual four-year contract extension, and several teams with openings, including Portland, were interested in hiring Brooks. If Brooks were to become available this spring, Orlando and Denver would have significant interest in hiring him, league sources said.
Brooks was the NBA coach of the year in 2010 and led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012.
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