The shakeup in Washington won’t include head coach Scott Brooks, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic. The Wizards fired GM Ernie Grunfeld yesterday as the first step in what could be a massive housecleaning, but multiple sources tell Aldridge that Brooks’ job remains safe.
Brooks has a 124-118 record since taking over in Washington in 2016. He still has two years left on his five-year, $35MM contract, so there’s a financial incentive for the franchise to keep him around. This will be the first time the Wizards will miss the playoffs under his guidance.
“I’ve spent one-on-one time with Scott just to tell him I expect us to do, work hard and play hard and continue to give the fans their money’s worth,” owner Ted Leonsis said Tuesday.
There’s more today on the shakeup in Washington:
- Nuggets executive Tim Connelly is believed to be the top candidate to replace Grunfeld, but the Wizards will strongly consider promoting VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard, confirms Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Leonsis told reporters that Sheppard, who has been with the organization for 16 years, will get a shot at the GM post. “I’ve told Tommy it’s not lip service, you’re highly regarded and there’s other teams that want to talk to Tommy and when the time comes, we will interview for the top job,” Leonsis said. Sheppard is also reportedly being considered for the Pelicans’ open GM spot.
- League sources tell Standig that others names to watch in the GM search are Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren and Pelicans interim GM Danny Ferry. Other possibilities include former Cavaliers GM David Griffin and Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon.
- Figuring out what to do with the backcourt will be the greatest challenge for the new GM, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. John Wall may miss all of next season with a ruptured Achilles while making $37.8MM in the first year of his supermax contract, while Bradley Beal will be eligible for a supermax of his own this summer if he makes an All-NBA team. If the Wizards decide to rebuild, Beal could find himself on the trade market.
- Grunfeld’s most significant mistake was targeting Kevin Durant in free agency in 2016 and not having a backup plan ready when he signed with the Warriors, Aldridge contends in the Athletic piece. Grunfeld spent two years clearing cap space to make a run at Durant, who never gave the team serious consideration. That meant parting with solid players such as Nene and Trevor Ariza. Grunfeld tried to sign Al Horford after not getting a meeting with Durant, but then gave $64MM to Ian Mahinmi and $26MM to Andrew Nicholson.