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Washington Hopes Brooks is First Step in Rebuilding Process

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 8.33.48 AMWashington is attempting to make home feel even more familiar for the biggest star preparing to enter free agency this summer.

The Wizards wasted little time in naming Scott Brooks the 25th coach in franchise history, signing him to a five-year, $35 million contract before the conclusion of the opening round of the playoffs.

Several teams were rumored to be vying for Brooks, one of the premier coaching candidates on the market after he posted a 338-207 (62 percent winning percentage) during his seven-year career in Oklahoma City.

Houston is battling the defending champion Warriors in the first round of the playoffs with J.B. Bickerstaff serving as the coach on an interim basis, and the team was considered a potential destination for Brooks if the position became available.

The Lakers are also contemplating replacing coach Byron Scott, so Washington felt a swift hiring process was imperative to land Brooks.

The hiring of Brooks signifies the start of a rebuilding process for the Wizards, as replacing Randy Wittman became a priority following a .500 season that left the team outside of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Brooks inherits a roster with only five players under contract for next season: John Wall, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre.

Scott Brooks led the Thunder to the Western Conference finals three times in a four-year span.
Scott Brooks led the Thunder to the Western Conference finals three times in a four-year span.

The team has worked frantically to shed salary, with half of the roster needing to be completed, in an effort to land Kevin Durant, by rounding out its roster with players under contract for only a single season.

The Wizards managed to carve out $30 million in cap space, enough to offer a max contract to Durant, hoping the lure of returning to his hometown is enough to tilt the favor in Washington during this summer’s free agency period.

Washington has already employed David Adkins, Durant’s assistant high school coach at Montrose Christian, hoping to bring a sense of familiarity to the 27-year-old forward.

While the addition of Brooks may provide the added benefit of appealing to Durant, there is no question he was signed based on his own merits.

Brooks helped mold the Thunder from a promising young team into a squad that fell just three wins shy of capturing an NBA title in 2012.

With a healthy combination of Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City won over 70 percent of its contests from the 2011-12 season to 2013-14.

Washington is hoping he can immediately replicate his success, as the Wizards boast a talented back court duo with Wall, a two-time All-Star and shooting guard Bradley Beal.

The team has made just a pair of playoff appearances in the past eight years and hasn’t experienced a 50-win season since 1978-79, the last time the Wizards made an appearance in the NBA Finals.

Scott Brooks was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 2010, as he helped the Thunder improve by 27 victories over the previous season.
Scott Brooks was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 2010, as he helped the Thunder improve by 27 victories over the previous season.

One pressing issue facing both Brooks and the team is making a decision on a long term deal for Beal.

The third overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft has displayed plenty of promise, pouring in 20 or more points in 35 out of his last 118 appearances.

Last year was the best of his four-year career, as Beal averaged 17.4 points per game and for the third consecutive season, sank over 100s hots from 3-point range.

Only the Wizards may be a bit leery of offering him a max contact following the numerous issues he has experienced with stress fractures in his right leg.

The injury kept him out of 27 games and since being drafted, he has missed 25 percent of Washington’s games.

As the inflated salary cap leaves numerous teams with money to spend this summer, several suitors may pursue Beal.

The signing of Brooks, especially to a deal paying him $7 million per year, signifies the Wizards are willing to spend this summer.

The same philosophy can spill over to the roster, as retaining Beal and landing Durant could send the salary soaring over $100 million next season.

Plus, the team would have to land at least another four players to complete the roster.

Washington struck quickly to land Brooks, one of the most sought after coaching commodities on the open market this summer.

Now, the team must wait to see if his presence will bring additional benefits to the team.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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