Brian Keefe will function interim HC, and the Wizards also can get began on the lookout for a full-time substitute. Listed below are a couple of candidates.
Mike Budenholzer (former Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks HC)
That is straightforward, proper? Budenholzer, by a rustic mile, is the highest free agent NBA coach after the Bucks did him dirty — as evidenced by their determination on Tuesday to fireside his substitute after solely 43 video games, after which usher in an goal downgrade in Doc Rivers.
Budenholzer’s ousting in Milwaukee was as a consequence of playoff shortcomings, however the Wizards will not have to fret about that anytime quickly. What “Coach Bud” excels at is constructing construction and identification for his groups, and for a Wizards squad that obviously lacks these issues, he’d be precisely what they want.
At his first cease in Atlanta, Budenholzer took over a middling Hawks workforce and inside two years received 60 video games and made the Japanese Convention Finals. Then in Milwaukee, he turned an underachieving bottom-half playoff workforce into the most effective regular-season membership within the NBA in yr one. He could not be capable to work that very same magic with this Wizards roster, however he’ll no less than get them heading in the right direction.
If Budenholzer is not the Wizards head coach by this summer time, the one cause ought to be that another person bid greater for his companies. By which case…
Kenny Atkinson (Golden State Warriors assistant, former Brooklyn Nets HC)
Atkinson is one other identify with head teaching expertise who deserved higher at his final gig when he took the Brooklyn Nets out of the league’s cellar and into the playoffs earlier than stepping down in 2020 — possible largely because of friction with Kyrie Irving.
He is been with the Golden State Warriors for the previous few years and has turned down head teaching alternatives to stay there. Nonetheless, with the Warriors seemingly on the finish of their street as contenders, it could be time for Atkinson’s subsequent reclamation mission with a Wizards workforce that is in an identical place to the one the Nets have been in when he took over them.
Sam Cassell (Boston Celtics assistant)
Given their younger, rebuilding core, it will be comprehensible if the Wizards need to go the first-timer route — or, maybe for a more sensible choice of phrases, are usually not seen as an interesting vacation spot for veterans like Budenholzer or Atkinson. In that case, it looks like Cassell, one of many league’s prime longtime assistants, could be the specified alternative.
Cassell was with the Wizards beforehand between 2009 and 2014 and has bounced across the league since then, making stops with the Clippers, 76ers and now Celtics. The Wizards have been in a rebuilding section the final time Cassell was on the town, and so they markedly improved all through these years as they developed their backcourt tandem of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Maybe Cassell has some unfinished enterprise in D.C.
Terry Stotts (former Portland Path Blazers HC)
The Wizards can in all probability purpose greater than Stotts if they’re going for expertise, however on condition that he is at present out of a job after abruptly resigning as an assistant with the Bucks this previous October, he is a reputation they may get a head begin on negotiating with.
Stotts made the playoffs yearly between 2014 and 2021 when he coached the Path Blazers, who’ve crumbled ever since his firing, culminating in lastly buying and selling Damian Lillard and embracing their rebuild this season. If the higher choices are snagged by different groups, Stotts could be a suitable comfort prize who might ultimately take Washington again to the postseason.
Brian Keefe (interim Wizards HC)
The subsequent three months shall be Keefe’s audition for the full-time gig, so he must be thought of within the combine virtually by default. He is an skilled assistant who has been within the league since 2007, working with the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, New York Knicks, L.A. Lakers, Nets and Wizards.
What would be the most telling about Keefe’s head-coaching prospects is whether or not or not he can repair the recurring issues that have been definitive of Unseld’s tenure. Washington should not count on to all of the sudden begin successful a lot, but when Keefe can conduct extra wise rotations whereas getting his squad to play disciplined basketball, then there could be one thing right here.