Wizards Part Ways With Coach Scott Brooks After Contract Expires

The Wizards will start searching for a new head coach immediately, General Manager Tommy Sheppard said

Scott Brooks wizards coach
NBC Washington

The Washington Wizards have reached a mutual agreement to part ways with head coach Scott Brooks following the team's first-round playoff exit, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed. The news was first reported by ESPN. 

Brooks, 55, leaves the Wizards after coaching them for five seasons. He was hired in the summer of 2016 with a five-year deal worth $35 million. That contract was set to expire this month.

Brooks found early success with the Wizards, leading them to 49 wins in his first season, their best regular-season record since 1979. They made the second round of the playoffs and then the first round in his second season.

Brooks was able to lead them back to the playoffs in his final season, for the third time in five years.

But it was also the third consecutive losing season, as they finished 34-38. The Wizards then fell in five games to the Sixers in their playoff series.

The Wizards will start searching for a new head coach immediately, General Manager Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. 

“Our organization will always be grateful to Scott for his dedication and work both on the court and in the community over the past five years and I personally admire and respect how he helped keep our team together during the unprecedented events of the last 15 months,” Sheppard said. 

Brooks' tenure was defined in part by injuries to key players, most notably All-Star point guard John Wall, whom the team traded to the Houston Rockets in December. Injuries took their toll in the 2020-21 season, with the team bottoming out at 15 games under .500 in early April.

Brooks leaves the Wizards with a 183-207 (.469) regular-season record with one playoff series win. That fell far short of his 338-207 (.620) mark with the Oklahoma City Thunder in his previous head coaching job. He finished fifth in Wizards/Bullets franchise history in head coaching wins.

The Wizards showed patience with Brooks following two losing seasons in 2018-19 and 2019-20 in part because of their injury issues. They set aside concerns about their record in 2019-20 to instead focus on player development.

The hope was Brooks could usher in a new era built around Bradley Beal and a roster full of young players. But this year was always going to have higher expectations and a first-round playoff appearance was evidently not enough.

Washington is now one of six teams with the coaching job open in the NBA, joining Orlando, Portland, Boston, Indiana and New Orleans. The Pelicans, like the Wizards, had their job come open Wednesday when it was revealed that Stan Van Gundy was out in New Orleans after one season.

Many of the candidates for the now half-dozen openings will be crossovers: Chauncey Billups and David Vanterpool are on several of the lists, as are past head coaches like Terry Stotts (who left Portland) and current Brooklyn assistant Mike D’Antoni.

It also raises the chance that the NBA could see a female coach for the first time, with longtime San Antonio assistant Becky Hammon, Duke coach and former Boston assistant Kara Lawson, South Carolina coach and current U.S. women’s national team coach Dawn Staley and New Orleans assistant Teresa Weatherspoon the most prominent women on the lists of candidates.

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