The Washington Wizards have named Wes Unseld Jr. as the franchise’s new head coach. Unseld Jr. becomes the 25th head coach in the organization’s history.
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“Wes is one of the most highly-regarded assistant coaches in the NBA and clearly separated himself from the large and diverse group of candidates we considered,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “His strong record as an in-game tactician along with his attention to detail on both sides of the ball, combined with his reputation for player development and outstanding character during his 20+ years of coaching left no doubt that he was the best choice to guide our team to the next level.”
“I want to thank Tommy and Mr. Leonsis for the opportunity to lead this talented team both on and off the court and to continue moving the franchise in a positive direction,” said Unseld Jr. “Becoming a head coach in the NBA is a goal that I have pursued my entire adult life and to have that dream realized by coming full circle back to Washington is truly special. I look forward to representing the DMV, connecting with our fans and establishing a new standard for Wizards basketball.”
Unseld’s return to DC punctuates a remarkable homecoming. His late father, Wes Unseld, is the most important figure in franchise history as a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame player, coach and executive with Washington. Unseld Jr., completed two days of interviews in Washington D.C., on Friday, including with owner Ted Leonsis, and received an offer later in the day to become the franchise’s next head coach.
He will be the seventh African American head coach hired out of eight openings this offseason in the NBA. New Orleans is finalizing an agreement with Suns assistant Willie Green, and Portland (Chauncey Billups), Atlanta (Nate McMillan), Orlando (Jamahl Mosely), Boston (Ime Udoka) and Dallas (Jason Kidd) hired African American coaches. Four of them — including Unseld Jr., Mosely, Billups and Green — are assistants getting first-time opportunities as head coaches.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Wes Unseld Jr., has agreed to a four-year deal to become the new head coach of the Washington Wizards, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Wizards offered the job to Denver’s associate head coach on Friday, and worked out terms today to complete a formal agreement, sources said.
Mike Singer: As reported yesterday, the #Nuggets worked hard on Wes Unseld Jr.’s behalf. Tim Connelly, in particular, made numerous calls to the Wizards endorsing his credentials.
Mosley had also emerged as a finalist for the Wizards’ head coaching job, sources told ESPN. In the past two years, Mosley has become a serious contender for head coaching vacancies and now is on the brink of breaking through to become the Magic’s coach.
The Washington Wizards are evaluating a pair of assistant coaches for their head coaching job position, reports ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The names are those of Sam Cassell, a long time assistant coach now with the Philadelphia 76ers, and Wes Unseld jr, assistant to Michael Malone in Denver and son of the former Bullets legend.
Fred Katz: Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison interviewed with the Wizards for their open head coaching position, Morrison told @PeteYannopoulos. Morrison has been with the Celtics since 2017. was with their G League team, the Maine Red Claws, for the three seasons before that.
Fred Katz: First thing Tommy Sheppard says when asked what traits he values in a coach is someone who’s a strong communicator with the players. Also mentioned defensive acumen and offensive mindset. Said the age of one coach running everything is gone. Still wants an O/D coordinator.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Tommy Sheppard on Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook endorsing Scott Brooks: “I take that all into account… I am aware of how people feel, how I feel… this is show-business, not show-friends… I am all about doing the very best thing for the Washington Wizards.”
Chase Hughes: GM Tommy Sheppard said he made the decision to let Brooks go and when he told team chairman Ted Leonsis, he got his blessing: “‘If that’s what you want to do, then that’s what you’ll do.'”
Ava Wallace: Tommy Sheppard, asked about Russell Westbrook’s relationship with Scott Brooks: “[Westbrook] wont the MVP in Okla City under a different coach. He was all-NBA last season under a different coach.” Said he’s been grateful for Westbrook and Beal’s insight.
Fred Katz: Tommy Sheppard says he came to the decision to move on from Scott Brooks today. Also says, “Scottie is probably one of the finest people I’ve ever worked with in my life. … I’d say he’s a dear, close friend, but in this business we have to be about results moving forward.”
Ohm Youngmisuk: Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said the Wizards coaching search will be a “very diverse, very robust” search. He said he it will “be very thorough” and very “diverse” and “inclusive” search.
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