The Washington Wizards are still head coach-less. After deciding not to renew Scott Brooks’ contract and parting ways after five seasons, the Wizards are hunting for a head coach for the first time since 2016.
It was nearly two weeks after the conclusion of Brooks’s fifth and final season before the Wizards officially decided enough was enough. That type of patience seemed a bit odd, as other franchises announced their new vacancies and got a head start on the Wizards. However, based on general manager Tommy Sheppard’s comments during media availability after the Brooks decision, it sounds like the Wizards will take a similarly measured approach as they decide who their next head coach will be:
"I don’t like to get sped up. I think patience is a competitive advantage and I think we’re going to go through this very thoroughly."
Early reports have linked Wes Unseld Jr and Sam Cassell as frontrunners for the Wizards job, and Scott Morrison has also reportedly been interviewed. Although other teams — the Celtics, Mavericks, and Pacers — have already found their new head coach and, despite three other teams (the Magic, Pelicans, and Trail Blazers) also looking for a new head coach in this competitive market, the Wizards are in no rush.
The Wizards need to nail this coaching pick and make the right decision, not the quick decision. With Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal ready to win now, and young prospects like Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, and Daniel Gafford still in need of some development, the Wizards are in a precarious place.
Beal is under contract for at least one more season. He has a $37 million player option for the 2022-23 season, and the Wizards can offer him a massive four-year, $181 million extension soon. The right coach could convince Beal to sign the extension and stick around. The wrong one could have him running for greener pastures.
Whoever the Wizards decide on will hopefully enjoy sustained success as the head coach in the nation’s capital. But, for that to happen, they’ll need to bring these three traits to the sidelines.