The Washington Wizards suddenly need a head coach, but they’ve decided to wait until the summer to find one.
And that makes sense. It might be hard to find somebody to take over a 7-36 team, which is what the Wizards are today. For now, interim coach Brian Keefe will replace Wes Unseld Jr., who was moved into the front office after two-plus years on the bench.
Per a joint statement that included team president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins, the Wizards “will undertake a comprehensive head coach search in the offseason.”
Former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, Boston Celtics assistant Sam Cassell and Cleveland Cavaliers assistants Luke Walton and Greg Buckner could be among the potential candidates. Winger is a Cleveland native and once worked in the Cavs’ front office.
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.”