When we told you this rumor was out there — that Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy were on the list as potential coaches of the Thunder if Scott Brooks wasn’t brought back — we told you to take it with a grain of salt. Or, actually an entire box of kosher salt (we only use the good stuff).
Now comes this from Thunder general manager Sam Presti, speaking to the Associated Press.
“To me, it’s rubbish,” Presti said Sunday when asked about an ESPN report that Jackson and Van Gundy were being considered as options if Brooks couldn’t be re-signed….
“Scotty is an integral part of our organization and critical to our success,” Presti said. “We value him greatly and we’re looking forward to having those (contract) conversations, as he said, in the coming days. He’s been integral to our success. We wouldn’t be the situation that we’re in without him and his commitment to our organization and our players.”
First off, “rubbish” is a great word. We should all use it more in our daily lives.
This always sounded like a leak to try and put some pressure on the Brooks camp more than reality.
Jackson was never going to happen. Not in this organization. Here’s the thing, Phil Jackson doesn’t just come in and coach, he takes over the entire organization — he is the mouthpiece of the franchise, you need to bring in players that fit his system, he changes the entire dynamic. The Thunder don’t need a new dynamic — they just reached the finals with a team core that is 23. You listen to the Heat players after their finals win and to a man they said they thought if they meet the Thunder in the finals next year or in two years they will be much, much harder to beat. This is a growing team on a good path. You bring in Jackson you change everything — yes, he has a track record of winning, but why change what is already working?
Jeff Van Gundy is a big name, he would help the Thunder defense, but he is also very, very expensive (as is Jackson.).
The Thunder players believe in Brooks. The Thunder players play hard for him every game. And while he seemed unsure of how to counter the Heat with lineup adjustments in the finals, in the round before he made the adjustments that beat Gregg Popovich. Again, this is not the time to make the change.
Brooks and the Thunder will get a deal done. He will be back next year. Everything else you hear is negotiations.