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Scott Brooks out as Washington Wizards coach after 5 seasons

Brooks is out after just one playoff series victory in 2017 to show for his five seasons on the job.
Credit: AP
Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Washington. The Wizards won 123-105. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON — Scott Brooks won't be back with the Washington Wizards next season after general manager Tommy Sheppard announced Wednesday the coach's contract would not be extended.

Sheppard said the Wizards will begin their coaching search immediately.

“We have been committed to taking the proper steps over the last two seasons to develop our young players, bring in pieces to complement Bradley Beal and build a winning environment that will ultimately lead to sustained on-court success,” Sheppard said in a statement. “Our organization will always be grateful to Scott for his dedication and work both on the court and in the community over the past five years, and I personally admire and respect how he helped keep our team together during the unprecedented events of the last 15 months.”

Brooks is out after just one playoff series victory in 2017 to show for his five seasons on the job. Washington made the playoffs three times in those five years.

Sheppard skirted the issue of Brooks’ future after the Wizards were eliminated in five games in the first round by Eastern Conference top-seeded Philadelphia. Washington was 183-207 overall during the regular season with Brooks as coach and struggled defensively.

Credit: AP
Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Washington. The Wizards won 123-105. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Wizards allowed the most points in the NBA last season and the second-most in the previous two years. They never ranked better than 15th in the league defensively under Brooks.

Washington brought in Brooks five years ago in hopes of luring area native Kevin Durant home to play for the Wizards. Since then, John Wall missed time with injuries and was traded to Houston for Russell Westbrook, and Beal emerged as Washington's top scorer, but that didn't amount to much postseason success.

Washington is now one of six teams with the coaching job open in the NBA, joining Orlando, Portland, Boston, Indiana and New Orleans. The Pelicans, like the Wizards, had their job come open Wednesday when it was revealed that Stan Van Gundy was out in New Orleans after one season.

Many of the candidates for the now half-dozen openings will be crossovers: Chauncey Billups and David Vanterpool are on several of the lists, as are past head coaches like Terry Stotts (who left Portland) and current Brooklyn assistant Mike D’Antoni.

It also raises the chance that the NBA could see a female coach for the first time, with longtime San Antonio assistant Becky Hammon, Duke coach and former Boston assistant Kara Lawson, South Carolina coach and current U.S. women’s national team coach Dawn Staley and New Orleans assistant Teresa Weatherspoon the most prominent women on the lists of candidates.

Lawson has a connection to the Wizards after serving as a television analyst for them.

Brooks had been the seventh longest-tenured coach in his current job. He was hired in 2016; only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Dallas’ Rick Carlisle, Golden State’s Steve Kerr, Utah’s Quin Snyder and Denver’s Michael Malone have had their current jobs longer.

Sheppard praised Brooks for “keeping this team together through some of the most difficult, dark moments probably in franchise history.” He wasn't the only one supportive of Brooks' performance as a lame-duck coach.

"He did a job that I’m pretty sure people didn’t think he was able to do,” said Westbrook, who previously was coached by Brooks with the Oklahoma City Thunder. “He kept us together. He kept us encouraged. He kept us fighting.”

Brooks said at the time he “wouldn't want to move on” from the Wizards, who are now looking for their sixth coach since 2009.

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