Kevin Durant Helped the OKC Thunder Retain Scott Brooks as Head Coach

by March 25, 2013

Some key and strategic text messaging from Kevin Durant last summer helped ensure that Scott Brooks stayed in OKC, instead of moving on to a place like Portland. A lucrative contract extension from the Thunder also didn’t hurt. Per the Oklahoman: “When the clock ticked inside of what could best be described as a harrowing final hour of contract negotiations between Scott Brooks and the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer, the thing that ultimately kept the team’s coveted free agent coach from now pacing the sidelines of the Portland Trail Blazers was a text message. It came from Kevin Durant. ‘It was like the day before they got something done,’ Durant said. ‘I think that day was the toughest.’ The message moved Brooks, who had been tied up in tense on-again, off-again talks that had put his future with the Thunder in jeopardy. ‘During negotiations, it can be stressful at times,’ Durant said. ‘One day it looks like something’s going to get done and then the next it might not. So I reached out to him and just told him I loved him and let me know what happens.’ Thunder assistant coach Rex Kalamian, a close friend of Brooks, facilitated the conversation, encouraging Durant to reach out to his head coach and tell Brooks how he felt. Kalamian thought it would do a world of good. It was one thing for Durant to communicate his feelings about Brooks to the other assistants. It was a whole other, especially during those final days that were filled with doubt and frustration, for Durant to dial up Brooks directly. ‘I’m the leader of this team,’ Durant said. ‘And I don’t think he had heard from me until that time. So I wanted to let him know that I wanted him back and I really enjoy playing for him. So that goes a long way, and I guess that helped him a little bit with his decision. I’m glad he’s back. I’m glad he’s with us.’ […] But Brooks was at a crossroads, with those close to him firmly believing that months of brutal haggling over money had burned the bridge between the coach and the team. His heart was in Oklahoma City. But he appeared headed for Portland. Until his phone buzzed. First by a fateful text from his franchise player, and then, finally, by a lucrative offer that rewarded him as one of the top five paid coaches in basketball, joining Gregg Popovich, Rick Adelman, Doc Rivers and Rick Carlisle.”