The Oklahoma City Thunder have hired Serbian Darko Rajakovic to coach their D-League affiliate Tulsa 66ers, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The hiring was historic in that it is the first time ever a European has been hired to coach a D-League or NBA franchise.
Rajakovic and Thunder GM Sam Presti have had a relationship since 2004 when Presti helped bring Rajakovic in as a scout and consultant for the Spurs.
Rajakovic has been coaching Torrelodones in Spain for the last three years.
This seems to be another example of the Thunder franchise being one of the most progressive and forward thinking in the league.
There will be some of the Thunder players who are playing now in the preseason on this 66ers squad this season. Players like Lazar Hayward, DeAndre Liggins, Hasheem Thabeet, Daniel Orton, Andy Rautins, Walker Russell and Hollis Thompson are a few of those who will probably spend some time in the D-League.
Having worked closely with San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich in the past, this hiring continues the trend of following in the footsteps of the Spurs franchise.
The Spurs have been known for bringing over European talent over the last decade to help them win four titles. Don’t think the Thunder won’t try to start emulating that either and this hiring may be a sign of that.
Rajakovic’s hiring is still pending his completion of the immigration process.