The Scott Brooks era in Washington, D.C. may not be over just yet.
There’s been substantial momentum within the Washington Wizards organization this week towards Brooks returning as the team’s head coach next season. The caveat, however, would be that he bring in an entirely new assistant coaching staff, sources tell me.
Pending any logistical holdups on the backend, an official announcement of Brooks retainment is expected by the end of the month.
A major factor in this decision has to do with a certain 2016-17 NBA MVP:
Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard pulled the trigger on a prodigious trade last offseason, shipping out franchise cornerstone, John Wall, for Westbrook days before training camp. That move wasn’t well-received by Wizards fans, as the anticipation for Wall’s return after being sidelined for two years was on the horizon.
Since then, Westbrook’s presence has garnered a newfound national intrigue around the team – an intrigue Leonsis would hate to lose. Westbrook, as well as all-star shooting guard Bradley Beal, both have two years remaining on their respective contracts – both with player options in the 2022-23 season. However, Westbrook’s connection with Brooks, which dates back to his time in Oklahoma City from 2008-15, makes moving on from the 24th head coach in Wizards franchise history “nerve-racking” due to the fear that Westbrook would voice and/or display dissatisfaction with the franchise if Brooks was no longer at the helm.
“They don’t want to upset Russ,” one source added.
Prior to meeting with the front office to discuss the direction of the team, Westbrook strongly endorsed Brooks after the team’s Game 5 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers.
"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 said. "If the conversation is brought to me, I will definitely voice my opinion like I’m voicing it now and see what happens."
He continued, "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 signed a five-year, $35 million contract with Washington in 2016. Through the full duration of that term he’s 183-207 in the regular season, and 10-14 in the playoffs.
No in-depth analysis for this one. Yes.
Until next time, Gang.