The Oklahoma City Thunder have been dealt a blow today as they bid to find a replacement for Scott Brooks - the head coach fired by the franchise after seven years at the helm.
In the days following Brooks' dismissal there was talk from those with knowledge of the situation that the move had been made with an eye on the future, and the impending free agency of star man Kevin Durant in particular.
Today though the man the team had earmarked as the ideal candidate to take the job and help convince Durant his long term future lies in Oklahoma has reportedly ruled himself out of the vacancy.
As reported by ESPN, Kevin Ollie has told those close to him that he has no plans to leave his position as head coach of the University of Connecticut despite being one of the men at the top of the Thunder's shortlist.
Ollie is believed to be amongst the top candidates not only because of his work with the Huskies - they were 2014 NCAA Champions - but because of his close relationship with Kevin Durant.
That is not to say that Durant did not have a good relationship with Scott Brooks, indeed he went on record to show his appreciation for the fired man with a message on social media this week. But there has long been speculation that getting Ollie on board in some capacity would be a pivotal move for any NBA team hoping to snag the 2014 NBA MVP in 2016 free agency.
Ollie was something of a role model for Durant when he, as a veteran teammate, helped the star at in the latter's early years at the franchise.
Bad to worse
The Thunder will see this snub as a blow to their long term plans but will inevitably find someone else to take on the job of head coach. The news that Ollie isn't keen on heading to OKC though has begun speculation that things could get even worse.
Considering his close ties to Kevin Durant, the fact that Kevin Ollie is prepared to skip a shot at the NBA with the Thunder has led to some people connecting the dots and arguing that it proves Durant isn't intending on staying with the franchise beyond next season.
Were this the case then he would have had to have had that conversation with Ollie in the days following Brooks' exit. Something that seems somewhat unlikely. But hey, the Thunder aren't in the playoffs so the rumor mill has to work overtime somehow, right?
What do you think Thunder fans? Is the Ollie snub a sign that Kevin Durant will be leaving in 2016? Debate the issues in the comments section below...
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