The Thunder are reportedly considering firing Scott Brooks, and that equation must factor who’d replace him.
How about UConn coach Kevin Ollie?
Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv:
Ollie appeals to the Thunder for multiple reasons, but one stands above the rest: Kevin Durant.
Durant still speaks highly of Ollie, who played with Durant on the 2009-10 Thunder. With Durant headed into free agency in 2016, Oklahoma City will surely go to great lengths to appease the reigning MVP (have to get that title in while it’s still valid).
Ollie’s star has faded since last season, when he led UConn to an NCAA championship and received plenty of NBA interest. The Huskies missed the NCAA tournament this year, and Ollie’s contract extension reportedly carries a $5 million buyout.
For the small-market Thunder, $5 million is probably a factor. But if $5 million is all it takes to retain Durant, that’s a bargain.
Of course, hiring Ollie a year before Durant’s free agency goes only so far. Even if Durant has a positive first impression of the move, so much could change by July 2016. Durant and Ollie haven’t experienced the coach-player relationship, and Ollie hasn’t coached in the NBA. Durant – like all players – wants a head coach he respects in that role and one capable of winning. Ollie seems like a good bet for both, but he might not be either.
The most important thing the Thunder can do is get a coach who satisfies Durant after next season – whether that’s Ollie, Brooks or someone else.