The Wizards have reached an agreement in principle with Scott Brooks that will make him the team’s new head coach. Brooks has reportedly landed a five-year, $35MM pact to come to Washington and take over for Randy Wittman, whom the franchise fired last week. In seven seasons as an NBA coach, all with Oklahoma City, Brooks has a regular season record of 338-207. His career postseason mark is 39-34.
There was apparently a time element involved in the negotiations, with Washington wanting to secure Brooks prior to the Rockets post opening up, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Brooks and Jeff Van Gundy were the reported co-favorites for Houston’s head coaching job. The Rockets still haven’t officially decided the fate of interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who reportedly enhanced his chances of keeping the job when the team clinched a playoff berth on the final night of the regular season, but the latest reports seem to cast significant doubt on his return. Brooks was reportedly wary of the uncertainty surrounding Dwight Howard‘s player option, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com noted, even though Howard has long been expected to opt out. Stein reported earlier that the Rockets were second only to the Wizards among the options Brooks was considering.
While Brooks is certainly a solid coach, one of the reasons the Thunder fired him was that his teams were believed to have underachieved. It remains to be seen what impact Brooks can have for the Wizards on the court, but he may have been hired just as much for what he can do off of it with regard to Kevin Durant. The Oklahoma City small forward, who is from Washington, D.C. and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, played for Brooks with the Thunder and the pair reportedly had a solid relationship. Signing Durant is apparently far from assured for the Wizards, with friends of the forward telling the Vertical’s Chris Mannix that he doesn’t want to deal with the pressure of being surrounded by family, friends and hangers-on from his native Washington.
This brings me to the topic for today: Was Scott Brooks a smart hire for the Wizards if the team FAILS to land Kevin Durant this summer?
If hiring Brooks leads to Durant signing with the Wizards, then it was a wise move for the franchise to lock him up before other teams came calling. But how will the addition of Brooks appear if Durant remains in OKC or heads elsewhere? Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions on the hiring of Brooks, to declare whether you believe this tilts the scales in Washington’s favor in regard to signing Durant, and to express what you think of the move if the team fails to land the Slim Reaper. We look forward to what you have to say.