Thunder fans, you may want to avert your eyes. This wasn’t a pretty ending to your season.
But it was a real coronation of the Miami Heat as champions that turned into a rout and a 12-minute fourth quarter party leading up to the win. Miami could do no wrong — LeBron James recorded a triple double but when he kicked the ball out the injured Mike Miller was knocked down threes like he was a decade younger. Miami turned up their defensive pressure, turned that into transition opportunities and there was nothing the Thunder could do.
For Heat fans, it was a thing of beauty. For the Thunder, it’s fuel for next year.
Video: Kevin Durant cries after losing in NBA finals
The NBA finals were not Scott Brooks finest hour. He lived with players that were struggling — Kendrick Perkins — while leaving players impacting the game more on the bench. He didn’t stick with his rotations. Perkins even called him out.
But Brooks is part of the family, the young coach that has grown up with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. They are not going to let him go, right? Right?
Scotty Brooks’ contract as OKC coach ends when June ends. The widespread assumption persists that Brooks and the Thunder will hammer out a new deal now that they no longer have a deep playoff run to manage, but sources close to the process continue to caution that A) extension talks have been slow-moving for weeks now and B) concern is rising within the organization that the sides are not nearly as destined to reach an agreement as everyone else around the league presumes.
Sources told ESPN.com this week that the Thunder have offered Brooks an annual salary “north of $4 million.” But those same sources maintain that the length of the deal is the primary holdup. Brooks is said to be seeking a guaranteed four-year deal; sources say OKC prefers a two- or three-year deal.
For all his flaws, he is a guy who just coached a young team all the way to the NBA finals. He’s a guy that made adjustment in the conference finals that Gregg Popovich couldn’t match. He’s a guy Durant and Westbrook like and trust. Keeping him seems a no-brainer.
Are you going to try and introduce a new coach, a new system, a new everything on a team that just went to the NBA finals? It’s hard to imagine a deal not getting done.
But it’s out there. Stranger things have happened. And the Thunder have already started to formulate a Plan B, just in case.