New Contract Puts Pressure On Brooks
Scott Brooks is coming back to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team ended days of speculation Monday night with a release announcing Brooks has signed a multi-year contract extension. A press conference has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday to talk about the deal, which is believed to be for four years and more than $16 million. "Continuing with Scott as our head coach is extremely significant for the future of our organization," said Thunder GM Sam Presti. "As we have continually communicated, he has been integral to our success and we have a deep appreciation for his tireless dedication to our players' development. His experiences and core values are invaluable to our players as they continue to grow and improve and we are thrilled to continue our partnership." Led by Brooks, the Thunder's 152 victories over the past three seasons are the second most in the NBA. Since taking over for P.J. Carlesimo 13 games into the 2008-09 season, Brooks has compiled a 174-125 record, a 58.2 percent winning percentage. Brooks also is 24-19 in the playoffs. "I would like to thank Clay Bennett and Sam Presti for the opportunity to continue with the Thunder," said Brooks, the 2010 Coach of the Year. "Oklahoma City is a special place, and I'm eager to build upon the foundation and culture of this franchise for years to come. Remember this day. Today marks the day Brooks entered the big leagues. Brooks' salary now ranks him among the top third of NBA coaches. That means playtime is over. The cute, cuddly and cushy job that the Thunder head coach once enjoyed is gone. The pressure is now on, both externally and internally, to produce. There always were expectations attached to Brooks' gig, of course. But before today, those in-house demands were more about basic coaching duties. They centered on simply making progress and "getting better every day" as part of the organization's proverbial "process." Brooks also was charged with helping to develop the Thunder's immensely talented young roster, a task in which he's succeeded at brilliantly. But everything changes from here. The stakes are rising and the responsibilities are increasing. Now, the Thunder is a championship-ready team. Oklahoma City's players have grown up and now know what it takes to get to the NBA Finals.