In 2010, the Wizards embarked on a rebuild, focused on trying to emulate the model set by the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2016, they will try to take the final step toward title contention with Scott Brooks, the coach who took the Thunder from a 23-win team to the NBA Finals in a four-year span.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Scott Brooks has agreed to a deal to become the Wizards' next head coach. He is set to make $7 million per year in his deal.
Scott Brooks has agreed in principle on a five-year, $35M deal with the Wizards, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 21, 2016
Can confirm @WojVerticalNBA's report that the Wizards are finalizing an agreement with Scott Brooks to become the Wizards' next coach.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) April 21, 2016
All five years of the Wizards’ deal with Brooks are guaranteed per source. Yahoo! first reported deal in principle.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) April 21, 2016
The Wizards have had their sights set on Brooks since dismissing Randy Wittman last week. He was the only candidate the Wizards interviewed for the opening, according to J.Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, who wasn't in his office Wednesday as he traveled out West to meet the ex-Oklahoma City Thunder coach, has had a laser-like focus to bring in Brooks.
In fact, CSN was told earlier in the day, that face-to-face meetings with the Wizards and other coaching candidates haven't happened because they've locked in on Brooks from the outset.
Despite the limited scope of the search, Brooks should provide a lot of what the Wizards are looking for with their new coach. His track record of developing young players and installing effective defenses should come in handy for a team that struggled with both last season.
In Washington, the big question will be whether or not he can develop the Wizards' offense, which has not finished in the top-ten of offensive efficiency since the 2006-07 season. The Thunder had a top-ten offense in each of Brooks' last five years in Oklahoma City, but critics are quick to point out he had the benefit of coaching Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook during his tenure and would argue his lack of creativity on that end contributed to his ouster.
Time will tell how well Brooks will fare in Washington, but if nothing else, it serves as a chance for both sides to put underwhelming, injury-filled seasons behind them and prove to doubters they should be considered part of the NBA elite.