SACRAMENTO -- Scott Brooks walked the floor at the Kings' practice facility Tuesday, surveying the players scattered about and preparing for that night's game.
There was a time last summer when the East Union High graduate thought this could be his daily routine, to land his long-awaited head-coaching job and lead the Kings into a new season.
He was a finalist for the position that went to Reggie Theus, appearing on the verge of succeeding Eric Musselman before the Maloofs went in another direction. Instead, Brooks landed a position as an assistant in Seattle, having also interviewed for the SuperSonics' head-coaching job but eventually being hired onto P.J. Carlesimo's staff.
Brooks, who was known for making the most of limited talent as a point guard during a 10-year career in which he played for six teams, said he's approaching his pursuit of a head-coaching job the same way he did as a player.
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"There's no question it was disappointment, but I don't look at things that way," Brooks said after the Sonics' shootaround. "I've been cut, traded, given no chance. You have to keep fighting."
And, for the record, he doesn't bother with the wondering. The mystery remains as to what took place after Brooks' second interview, a June 11 meeting at the Palms in Las Vegas, where co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof effused enthusiasm about Brooks but opted for Theus eight days later.
Brooks appeared to have the support of Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, but the Maloofs had yet to spend much time with Brooks and were able to do so in a 90-minute lunch in their casino. They gushed afterward, drawing comparisons between themselves and Brooks and a shared ability to overcome low expectations.
"Basically, Geoff has to be the one who makes this decision," Joe Maloof said in front of the casino. "But Gavin and I interviewed (Brooks), and we felt very comfortable with him, and he had a great interview. He was terrific."
Brooks waited for the call that never came.
"I was that close," he said. "Close enough to know that I was qualified to get it. I know I'm qualified to come in and coach. I don't have to fool or trick anybody or try to have this incredible interview. I am what I am. I'll tell you exactly how I feel, and that was good enough to get a second interview (with the Kings)."
Brooks, an assistant under George Karl in Denver the two seasons before his Sacramento stop, is confident a head-coaching job eventually will be his. For now, he's enjoying learning from another veteran coach, Carlesimo.
"P.J. has an incredible amount of knowledge and information that I'm learning," Brooks said. "Selfishly, he's good for me. Hopefully I'm as good for him as he has been for me. I'm growing every day."