NBA PM: Where Do the Thunder Go From Here?

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This afternoon, the Oklahoma City Thunder fired head coach Scott Brooks. In the above video, I talked with Noah Coslov of CineSport about why Brooks was fired, who would be the best replacement coach for the Thunder and what’s next for Brooks now that he’s on the market.

Brooks spent the last seven seasons with Oklahoma City, going 338-207 during the regular season and 39-34 in the postseason. He led the team to the 2012 NBA Finals, and went as far as the Western Conference Finals in 2011 and 2014.

However, despite his impressive win record, Brooks was commonly criticized for not getting the most out of OKC’s star-studded lineup and it’s clear the Thunder feel a new coach is necessary in order to contend for a championship next season.

This year, the Thunder won 45 games and missed the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, but general manager Sam Presti stressed that this decision “isn’t a reflection of this past season, but rather an assessment of what we feel is necessary at this point in time in order to continually evolve, progress and sustain.”

The Thunder will start their search for a new head coach right away, and candidates such as Kevin Ollie from Connecticut and Billy Donovan from Florida have already been mentioned as possibilities.

Pau Gasol Wins PBWA’s Magic Johnson Award

Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls has won the 2014-15 Magic Johnson Award, which annually recognizes the player who best combines excellence on the basketball court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public, the Professional Basketball Writers Association announced today.

Not only did Gasol become an All-Star, average a double-double and help the Bulls become one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, he also “consistently fostered an atmosphere of mutual respect with the media,” per the PBWA press release.

Gasol understands the role that the media plays and tries to be as helpful as possible in his interactions, which is why he received this honor.

“I just try to be helpful,” Gasol told K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. “I try to help other people do their jobs well,” Gasol said. “I understand my position and that this is a part of our jobs. So I always try to be kind and polite, even when I’m not feeling great or I might be upset because of the loss. I understand that it’s still part of my job to be one of the team’s leaders and role models to stand up and share my thoughts when I need. … It’s easy to be friendly. It’s easy to be kind. It rubs off on people, so you want to balance out the negatives in the world with some positives. So that’s what I try to do.

“We’re all human, we’re not all the same. But you have to understand that people are just trying to do their jobs and you guys (the media) are a big part of our success and that’s why all the news gets to people and people follow us and the sport is as big as it is. So the more coverage, the more attention, the better it is for the sport. But some guys don’t see that perspective because the feelings and emotions get in the way and that’s human as well. I just try to do my best as always.”

Four additional players were finalists for the Magic Johnson Award this season. The other finalists were Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Professional Basketball Writers Association created the Magic Johnson Award in 2001. The association’s members continue to regard Earvin “Magic” Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers as the ideal model for the award. The PBWA comprises approximately 175 writers and editors who cover the NBA on a regular basis for newspapers, online outlets and magazines.

NBA Fines Houston’s Jason Terry

It was announced today that Houston Rockets guard Jason Terry has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 2 of Houston’s first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks.

The incident occurred with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter of Rockets’ 111-99 victory over the Mavericks on Tuesday night at the Toyota Center.

To view the play in which the flop occurred, click here.

Flopping punishments have been in place by the NBA since the 2012-13 season. During the regular season, players first receive a warning and then are fined in increments of $5,000 for every subsequent flop.

However, in the playoffs, there is no warning. Players are fined $5,000 for their first offense, $10,000 for their second, $15,000 for their third, $30,000 for their fourth and then can be suspended for each flop after a fifth offense.