It’s debatable whether Scott Brooks deserved to lose his gig as Thunder coach last summer. After all, his team saw its fair share of injuries during his tenure, and when they were healthy, they made it to the NBA Finals and/or Western Conference Finals. Nevertheless, he was relieved of his duties in favor of Florida coach Billy Donovan, then spent a year away from the game before landing the head coaching job for the Wizards.
Brooks joined The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix on Monday to discuss a number of topics, when the conversation inevitably turned to Kevin Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City this summer to join the Warriors. With a tip of the hat to Erik Horne of NewsOK.com for the transcript of that segment, here’s what the former Thunder coach had to say about Durant’s departure:
“I have a lot of respect for him and that will never change,” Brooks said. “He gave me and my family a great seven years as a head coach. He earned that right to be a free agent.
“Players earn that right and they’re able to become free agents. Players get traded, players get cut that don’t want to be traded or cut. Coaches get fired. I didn’t want to get fired, but I got fired. You deal with it, you move on, and that’s the way it is. I have a lot of respect for the Oklahoma City Thunder and I’m sure Kevin feels the same way, but it’s part of the game.”
It’s been a common refrain as Durant has taken significantly less heat than, say, LeBron James did in 2010 when he went to Miami. Although Brooks might feel a little different if he were still head coach of the Thunder and tasked with dealing with the fallout of his team losing its best player.