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How the Thunder's Scott Brooks maintains job security

Head coach knows you have to stay on good terms with your boss. And in OKC, that means Sam Presti
by Jenni Carlson Modified: June 25, 2013 at 9:04 pm •  Published: June 25, 2013

Scott Brooks arrived at a charity golf tournament Monday morning wearing a Thunder polo shirt.

Yep, he's still the coach in Oklahoma City.

You have to doublecheck these days in the NBA.

By the time the league cranks up again, 13 of the 30 franchises in the league will have new coaches. A whopping half of the teams have changed coaches in the past year, including four that currently have openings.

“It's not good,” Brooks said of the massive turnover.

Not good for the teams. Not good for the league. Not good for the quality of basketball.

But don't expect the epidemic to spread to Oklahoma City any time soon.

The reason: Scott Brooks understands that you have to play nice with others.

Winning, of course, is paramount in the NBA. Any coach wanting to stick around for more than a few years has to produce. But as we have seen this offseason, success doesn't guarantee longevity.

Vinny Del Negro led the Clippers to a first-ever division title but was cut loose before the end of May.

George Karl earned NBA Coach of the Year honors in May but was fired by the Nuggets in June.

Lionel Hollins led the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals but was let go less than two weeks later.

All three of those coaches were successful, but now, all three are unemployed. That's because each had a rift with the person calling the shots in their franchise.

Now, that person's station can vary. Sometimes, it's an owner. Sometimes, it's a general manager. Sometimes, it's a player.

In Oklahoma City, it's Sam Presti. The Thunder general manager controls the operation. Who stays. Who goes. What image is projected. What message is shared. Those are Presti's calls.

One day, that might change, but right now, that day seems far, far away.

And everyone knows it.

Including Scott Brooks.

By all accounts, the coach has a great relationship with the boss. Brooks is in lock step with Presti's vision, message and philosophy. Now, that might be because Brooks believes exactly as Presti does, but it's more likely that he believes largely as Presti does and bites his tongue about the rest of it.

Brooks understands that to stay employed you have to stay on good terms with your boss.

And he's on very good terms with his.

On Monday before the Verplank Foundation Invitational — an event benefiting pro golfer Scott Verplank's scholarship program for youngsters with Type 1 diabetes — Brooks was asked about Thursday night's draft. Who will the Thunder take? What will it do with its picks?

Brooks automatically professed trust in Presti, but he also talked of a good collaborative relationship.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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