After Oklahoma City was eliminated from the playoffs on the final day of the season, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both offered their support for head coach Scott Brooks in their exit interviews.
Amid reports Brooks is on the hot seat as Thunder management evaluate their options for next season, the injured Durant spoke candidly, citing the adversity the team faced all season and Brooks' effectiveness in the locker room.
Kevin Durant on Scott Brooks: "He did his job. He kept us together."— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) April 16, 2015
Kevin Durant backs Scott Brooks: "He rallied us, made sure we were all emotionally stable."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 16, 2015
Russell Westbrook, also still upset about missing the playoffs, made a point of backing Brooks as well. Players remained positive and focused on beginning next season with a healthy group, after Durant missed most of the season with a broken foot and Serge Ibaka missed the final 18 games after having knee surgery.
Brooks told reporters he planned to be back for another run next season. The off-season poses an especially critical juncture as next season will be the final year of Durant's contract. Westbrook's deal will be up a year after that.
"I expect to be the coach,” Brooks told NewsOK.com. "Proud to be the coach of this organization. Love being here. I expect to be the coach here next season."
"In the business of sports, there’s always going to be speculation," Brooks said. "You have to be able to do your job regardless of what is out there. I’m proud to be here. I’m excited about the talent that we have here."
The Thunder hold a team option on Brooks for the 2016-17 season. He was the NBA's Coach of the Year in 2012, and led the Thunder to the finals with Durant and Westbrook in 2010.
- Jeremy Woo