Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks just finished out the final season of his five-year contract, and a good portion of the fan base is hoping the Wizards make a coaching change. However, it looks like those fans will not be getting their wish.
According to Wizards analyst Quinton Mayo, Washington intends to bring back Brooks, with the condition that he hires new assistant coaches. One major factor in this expected decision to retain Brooks? Russell Westbrook.
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.
Westbrook gave Brooks a strong public endorsement after the Wizards were eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. As noted, Russ has a long history with Brooks dating back to their days with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where they had a good amount of success together.
While Westbrook is a big fan of Brooks, the Wizards do need to consider the long-term future of the franchise here as well, especially when it comes to Bradley Beal. As great as Russ was to finish this season, he’s 32 years old and who knows how long he’ll stay in Washington. Beal is the more important voice here, and if he would prefer a coaching change, the Wizards should listen to him over Westbrook given the uncertain future.
If Beal definitely wants Brooks to stay as well (he was supportive in his season-ending comments but not as explicit as Russ), that would make the decision a bit easier, but it’s also true that Brooks’ tenure in the nation’s capital has been mediocre at best. Washington could probably do better, so the front office should be considering all of this.
For now, though, it appears Scott Brooks will in fact be back.