Since the Washington Wizards decided not to bring Scott Brooks back next season as their head coach, two names have consistently been considered the hypothetical frontrunners to succeed him. One is Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell who interviewed earlier this week. The other is Denver Nuggets assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr., a former Wizards assistant coach who is also the son of the long-time Bullets legend. Unseld has not been reported to have interviewed with Washington.
And now, we know why there hasn’t been much traction from Washington’s end. According to Shams Charania and Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Unseld advanced to the second round of interviews. It is unclear whether there is another candidate who advanced in Orlando’s interview process.
Like the Wizards, the Magic have ties with Unseld, where he was an assistant coach from 2012-15.
Does this mean that the Wizards are out of the running for Unseld? Not necessarily. If another candidate advanced and got the head coaching job in Orlando, then the Wizards could still do an interview if they haven’t already.
And if Unseld did get the head coaching job in Orlando, does that make Cassell the best option for Washington? Again, not necessarily.
That said, there are just three NBA head coaching vacancies left: Orlando, Washington and the New Orleans Pelicans. Two of these teams, Orlando and New Orleans didn’t make the playoffs last season and are in clear rebuild mode. And one of these teams, New Orleans, is only committed to staying in its arena through 2024 — in other words, some see them as a team that may change hands and relocate.
Either way, the Wizards shouldn’t rush to judgment about what the Magic are doing. But if there’s a coach who wants to take a team that wants to make the playoffs right away, it’s evident that the Wizards should be that team.