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Scott Brooks not returning as Washington Wizards head coach

Brooks and Washington part ways

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Washington Wizards and head coach Scott Brooks are ending their marriage after the two sides couldn’t agree on a new contract. Brooks led Washington to the playoffs in three of his five seasons at the helm, including this year. The Wizards join five other teams searching for new head coaches.

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Washington nearly missed the playoffs this year. It took 17 wins in the season’s final 23 games for the Wizards to claim a spot in the play-in tournament. After losing to Boston and Jayson Tatum, Brooks’ team punched its ticket to the postseason with an emphatic 142-115 win over Indiana before running into a star-studded Philadelphia squad.

“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 during his end-of-season press conference. “I’d love to be a part of it.”

Brooks experienced mixed success during his time with the Wizards, which Philadelphia ended in a gentleman’s sweep several weeks ago. With Brooks leading the way, Washington went 183-207 in regular season play. The team’s only playoff series win came against Atlanta in 2017.

Brooks became a head coach for the first time in 2008 when he took over a young Oklahoma City team from P.J. Carlesimo. In just his second season, Brooks turned the Thunder into a 50-win team and received the NBA Coach of the Year award.

The Thunder made the 2012 Finals behind strong performances from Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Westbrook. Following a loss to Miami, Brooks stayed in Oklahoma City for three more seasons. He’s 521-414 during the regular season and 49-48 in the playoffs as a head coach.

The Wizards begin searching for a new head coach ahead of a critical campaign. Star guards Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook have player options for the 2022-23 season. If Washington’s head coaching hire falls through next year, the two guards could decline significant paydays in search of long-term deals on the open market.

Per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Wizards can sign Beal to a four-year extension worth roughly $181.5 million this offseason. However, the All-NBA shooting guard can wait another year and sign a five-year extension worth about $235 million. It’s in Washington’s best interest to make a coaching hire that pleases the 27-year-old franchise cornerstone.

Per NBC Sports’ Chase Hughes, who covers Washington sports, Kenny Atkinson, Sam Cassell, Becky Hammon, Mark Jackson, and Wes Unseld Jr. are some candidates the Wizards could pursue.

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