Scott Brooks is one of the better young coaches in the league. But his contract is set to expire, and a deal doesn't look imminent.
While the Thunder are the prohibitive favorites to retain Brooks' services, he will be courted by several teams still looking for a coach. Portland is reportedly interested, and if he hits the market, Orlando will likely give him a call too.
Blazers owner Paul Allen has much deeper pockets than Clay Bennett; if anyone could make Brooks an offer he can't refuse, it's Portland.
If the Oklahoma City job suddenly opened up, every coach on the market would want it. While the Van Gundys, Jerry Sloan and Nate McMillan would all be fine choices, none are on the level of the Zen Master.
If Scott Brooks leaves, Phil Jackson should be the next coach of the Thunder.
Jackson lives in Montana, so he doesn't need the bright lights of New York or Los Angeles. If he comes back to coaching, it will be for the perfect basketball situation. What would be better than coaching the best young team in the league?
Jackson's best quality as a coach is his ability to handle egos and get players to play within a system. He forced Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to play team basketball with the triangle offense.
By now, we've all heard the criticisms of Russell Westbrook. He shoots too much. The offense should be run through MVP runner-up Kevin Durant, but Westbrook makes it much harder for him to get his shots.
Doesn't that seem like a match made in heaven? The triangle offense could finally get Westbrook to play like the point guard Brooks always wanted him to be, rather than the shooting guard he really is.
The Thunder are also dangerously inexperienced.
Their youth killed them against Miami, as they made far too many mental mistakes. Jackson has 11 championships. If anyone can get them to play like seasoned veterans, it's him.
The only major obstacle is money. If the Thunder can't afford Brooks, how could they afford Jackson? It would take a serious financial concession on Jackson's part to make this work.
Luckily for OKC, Jackson has made more money in his career than any coach in NBA history. If he really has the itch to coach again and thinks Oklahoma City is where he wants to be, then I think he'll take far less than he's worth.
Sam Presti's first priority is going to be bringing back Scott Brooks. Why rock the boat on a team that just made the NBA Finals?
But if Brooks does leave, Phil Jackson would be the perfect replacement.