Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said the search for a new coach will begin immediately after the decision to move on from Scott Brooks.
Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington listed Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., 76ers assistant Sam Cassell, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, ESPN analyst Mark Jackson and Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni as candidates worth considering. Unseld is the son of late Washington legend Wes Unseld.
“We have been committed to taking the proper steps over the last two seasons to develop our young players, bring in pieces to complement Bradley Beal and build a winning environment that will ultimately lead to sustained on-court success,” Sheppard said in a statement.
“Our organization will always be grateful to Scott for his dedication and work both on the court and in the community over the past five years and I personally admire and respect how he helped keep our team together during the unprecedented events of the last 15 months.”
Brooks’ deal expired at the end of the season, and while he’s a favorite of star point guard Russell Westbrook, the money apparently didn’t make sense for Brooks to return.
Brooks signed a five-year deal in 2016, and with that deal expiring, there had been speculation that Sheppard would opt for a coaching change.
Westbrook just finished his first season with the Wizards, who reached the playoffs before falling to the top-seeded 76ers in the first round. He backed Brooks publicly at the end of the season.
“If it was up to me, Scotty wouldn’t be going anywhere. It’s not even a question or a conversation to even be brought up,” Westbrook told reporters. “If the conversation is brought to me, I will definitely voice my opinion like I’m voicing it now and see what happens.”
“This year he did a hell of a job. He did a job that I’m pretty sure people didn’t think he was able to do. He kept us together, he kept us encouraged, he kept us fighting. He don’t get a lot of credit for it, but he deserves a lot of credit for putting us in position to be successful.”
Brooks has compiled a 183-207 record with the Wizards, and is 521-414 in 12 seasons overall. He finishes his career in Washington as the franchise’s fifth-winningest coach.
The Wizards become the sixth team to undergo a coaching change this offseason, joining the Celtics, Pacers, Pelicans, Trail Blazers and Magic.