Scott Brooks Out As Wizards Head Coach After 5 Seasons

Alex Murray
Alex Murray
NBA News
NBA 2020-21

And another domino falls.

The Washington Wizards became just the latest team to move on from their head coach last Wednesday, deciding to call it quits with bench boss Scott Brooks, who had been at the helm of the team for the past five seasons, according to Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard.

While the team didn’t technically fire Brooks—his contract was instead simply not renewed—the result is the same, with Brooks now back on the job market, and the team looking for a new gaffer.

“It is something from a personal standpoint that was very, very difficult,” Sheppard said of moving on from Brooks. “Scotty is probably one of the finest people I have ever worked with in my life … a dear close friend. But in this business, we have to be about results moving forward and ability to get better. And I made the decision to do this. I wouldn’t say it didn’t work out, I just think it’s time to move on.”

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the two sides were simply unable to find common ground on a deal for Brooks’ new contract. This all despite the fact that the team’s two superstar players, guards Russell Westbrook—who Brooks coached for seven years in Oklahoma City—and Bradley Beal, were both vocal in their preference for Brooks to return at the helm next season.

“I take all that into account, I had thorough conversations with everyone in the organization. I am aware of how people feel. I am aware of how I feel. This is showbiz, it’s not show-friends,” Sheppard said. “And what we got to do as an organization is continue to do whatever it takes to have sustainable winning.”

Sheppard indicated that the team will be interviewing a wide range of candidates to replace Brooks as he and the front office also figure out what to do with the aging Westbrook and Beal, who is entering the final year in his contract. The GM insisted that their interviewees will be plucked from a group of “very diverse, very inclusive people,” according to ESPN.

After acquiring Westbrook in a trade that sent the oft-injured John Wall to the Houston Rockets, the Wizards seemed primed for a big campaign, but season-ending injuries to big man Thomas Bryant and rookie Deni Avdija really stunted the team’s ability to find sustained success. 

Though they finished 34-38, a furious late-season run led by the Brodie helped the Wizards snag the eighth seed, which they held onto through the play-in tournament. 

Thanks to nagging injuries to both Russ and Beal, the Wizards weren’t able to put up much of a fight against the Philadelphia 76ers—who ended up losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the next round, with the Hawks now sitting as solid +7.5 NBA point spread underdogs at -110 NBA odds for Game 1 of the Conference Finals against Milwaukee—in round one of these playoffs, losing in five games.

Brooks was impressive in shepherding his squad through one of the toughest spells for any team during this COVID-affected campaign. Washington’s season came to a full stop for nine days in January when seven of their players went into the league’s health and safety protocols, a time that general manager Shephard called, “the third ring of hell.”

While Sheppard complemented Brooks on his supreme communication skills, it seems like the coach’s inability to put together a decent defense will have been one of the blackest marks on his resume. The Wiz allowed the most points in the NBA this past season and had given up the second-most in the two years before that. Washington never climbed above 15th in that category with Brooks at the controls.

Brooks becomes the sixth head coach to lose his job during this offseason, as the Wizards join the Boston Celtics, the Indiana Pacers, the Orlando Magic, the New Orleans Pelicans, and the Portland Trail Blazers in a search for their new head coach. 

Boston, however, recently announced that they had chosen former Brooklyn Nets assistant Ima Udoka as their new top dog as this piece was being written.

Where the 55-year-old Brooks goes from here is not yet clear. He had great success with the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2008 to 2015 (his first NBA head coaching job), leading the newly rebranded team to two Conference Finals appearances and one trip to the NBA Finals. Overall, the French Camp, California native has amassed a 521-414 regular season mark and a 49-48 postseason mark as an NBA head coach, including eight playoff appearances in 12 campaigns.

Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.