WASHINGTON (WDVM) – With his contract set to expire, Scott Brooks’ future as head coach of the Washington Wizards is in question.
In a Friday morning end of season Zoom call with reporters, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said he would not be addressing Brooks’ future, but praised Brooks for his ability to lead the team out of adversity this season.
“Scotty did a hell of a job keeping this team together through some of the most difficult dark moments probably in franchise history,” Sheppard said. “That being said, we want to get better. All of us.”
The 2020-21 season was the last of Brooks’ five-year, $35 million deal with the Wizards. Under Brooks, the Wizards made three playoff appearances, winning one series in that span.
“I love the group of guys, I know we have a lot of work to do and we’re building something that we want to be able to be proud of,” Brooks said Thursday morning. “I’d love to be a part of it.”
Brooks made it clear to the media that he wants to continue coaching the team. He said he hasn’t at any point been worried about his contract status and is focused on doing the best job he can coaching the team.
The Wizards struggled early in the 2020-21 season, starting 3-8, before a team coronavirus outbreak sent the team into a roughly two-week hiatus. The team struggled to get back on track, and was 17-32 on April 5 after a loss to the Toronto Raptors.
The Wizards finished the regular season 17-6, catapulting themselves to eighth place in the Eastern Conference and winning a play-in game to solidify their spot in the playoffs. The Wizards struggled mightily against the No. 1 seed Philadelphia 76ers, losing the first round series in five games, with the only one coming in a game in which the 76ers star center and MVP candidate Joel Embiid missed most of it with an injury.
Wizards guard Russell Westbrook, who previously played for Brooks in Oklahoma City, praised his coach after the team was eliminated Wednesday.
“I don’t see why Scott should go anywhere,” Westbrook said. “He brings intensity. He brings the effort like he was playing, but he’s the coach. And that’s something that you can’t teach.”
Brooks’ contract will expire when the season ends, Sheppard told WDVM Thursday that a decision on Brooks’ future will be made in the next few weeks.
“For us to continue to play and fight for one another and have the injuries that we’ve had,” Brooks told WDVM. “To me that’s going to go down as one of my favorite season’s to coach.”