Wizards move Wes Unseld Jr into front office, officially name Brian Keefe interim coach

It’s been a season of change and struggle for the Washington Wizards, and another major move has been made.Wes Unseld Jr instructs Corey Kispert

This one involves coach Wes Unseld Jr., who has been moved into a front-office position, the team announced. Lead assistant Brian Keefe will replace Unseld and hold the role of interim coach.

Keefe is expected to keep the job for the rest of the year, as Wizards officials announced they “will undertake a comprehensive head coach search in the offseason.”

Wizards president Michael Winger, a Cleveland native who once worked for the Cavaliers, is in his first season. The same is true of general manager Will Dawkins.

Unseld Jr. has quite a bit of history with the franchise, given that his dad was once a star center who helped lead the Wizards to their last championship in 1978. They won 50 games the following season (1978-79) and haven’t won that many since. They are just 7-36 entering Thursday night.

Wes Unseld later went on to become the coach and then the GM in Washington.

Unseld Jr., 48, compiled a 77-130 overall record in his two-plus seasons with the Wizards, his first head-coaching job. He had been an assistant with the Wizards, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets from 2005 to 2021.

The Wizards released the following on Keefe:

“Keefe was named the Wizards’ lead assistant in July after having spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. He brings over 17 seasons of coaching experience to Washington, including stints as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder (2019-20 and 2007-14), Los Angeles Lakers (2016-19), and New York Knicks (2014-16).  Keefe began his NBA career as a video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs from 2005-07, helping the team win the 2007 NBA championship.”

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