Washington Wizards Hire Scott Brooks; Will Become Team’s New Head Coach
The Washington Wizards have agreed to terms with Scott Brooks to be the team’s new head coach. The deal is for five years and worth a total of $35 million, sources told ESPN and Yahoo! Sports, which first reported the agreement.
Brooks’ deal moves him into the elite of the highest-paid coaches in the league who don’t also hold front-office power. Brooks’ $7 million annual package is comparable to Dallas coach Rick Carlisle’s contract.
Brooks, a former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach, emerged as the front-runner for Washington’s vacancy almost from the moment Randy Wittman was fired after the final game of the Wizards’ disappointing 41-41 season. Wittman had been the team’s coach for four-plus seasons.
Brooks posted a record of 338-207 with the Thunder and made a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals among his five playoff appearances. He has been mentioned as a likely coaching target for the Wizards for months, given Washington’s well-chronicled intent to pursue D.C. native and current Thunder forward Kevin Durant in free agency this summer.
Will This Mean Kevin Durant May Play in DC?
There are two ways to view the decision of Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld, the team’s president of basketball operations, to pursue Brooks. One is that they would have been better served to cast a wide net to try and replace Randy Wittman, fired last week at the conclusion of a disappointing season in which the Wizards went 41-41 and missed the playoffs after two straight second-round appearances.
The other is that the Wizards identified their preferred candidate, then did whatever it took to get him to join their organization. That kind of action has been uncommon for this team in the past, and could be a sign of things to come this offseason.
Washington had competition for its new hire. The Houston Rockets were interested in talking to Brooks, who was part of Houston’s championship-winning team in 1994 and who had coached star James Harden in Oklahoma City, and it was always possible the Lakers could decide to make a run at Brooks should they part with their current coach, Byron Scott.
The Wizards found themselves a great coach in Scott Brooks. Either way, if they get Kevin Durant to come back home or not, the Wizards have at least improved in the coaching ranks.
(Washington Wizards Hire Scott Brooks)