Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Thunder fire coach after 1-12 start

The expansion Oklahoma City Thunder fired coach P.J. Carlesimo on Saturday, losing patience with his efforts to kickstart the NBA's new franchise after a dismal start.
With the relocated team _ formerly the Seattle Supersonics _ off to a league-worst 1-12 start, Carlesimo was replaced on an interim basis by assistant Scott Brooks.
The firing followed a 105-80 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday, the Thunder's 10th straight defeat.
Brooks made his debut Saturday in a rematch with the Hornets in New Orleans, and general manager Sam Presti said Brooks would finish the season.
"This isn't about one person," Presti said. "There's accountability for everybody involved _ players, coaches, myself and anyone involved with our basketball team. We understand that."
Carlesimo was expected to produce a winner around Kevin Durant, but he never really stood a chance. Carlesimo inherited a roster shredded by the trades of stars Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis after a decision to rebuild.
"We have to get better no matter who the coach is," Durant said Saturday in New Orleans before the Thunder's 109-97 loss to the Hornets. "To start off like we did my first year and now this year is tough to deal with. If we continue to work hard, things will start to turn around for us."
Carlesimo had questioned his team's effort in recent games, which ended in a string of blowouts. The last six losses were by double-digits, and most of those were even more out of hand before the Thunder rallied.
Brooks, an 11-year NBA veteran, played on Houston's 1994 NBA championship team and bounced around with seven teams before becoming a Denver assistant in 2003. He also worked for Sacramento and joined Carlesimo's staff last season in Seattle.
"Things aren't good," Brooks said Saturday night in New Orleans. "It's a challenge to get our guys motivated to play every night. ... Our team needs direction. I have clear plans to make this team play with much more energy and passion."
Brooks has been a fill-in head coach a few times. He served as Sacramento's coach for two games in February 2007 when Eric Musselman was suspended for driving under the influence, and he substituted for George Karl in Denver when Karl was suspended for four games during the 2005-06 season. Brooks lost all four of those games in Denver, but won both when in charge of the Kings.
Despite all the excitement leading to the season _ with the team selling out its full allotment of season tickets in five days _ only three of the eight home games have sold out: opening night, a visit from the NBA champion Boston Celtics and the return of the beloved Hornets who were based in Oklahoma City for two years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.