Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks guided the team to a berth in the NBA Play-In Tournament this season. The Wizards then earned the No. 8 seed but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
June 16 (UPI) -- The Washington Wizards announced Wednesday that head coach Scott Brooks won't return to the team next season, with general manager Tommy Sheppard saying it was his decision not to renew Brooks' contract.
"It is something from a personal standpoint that was very, very difficult," Sheppard told reporters. "Scotty is probably one of the finest people I have ever worked with in my life ... a dear, close friend. But in this business, we have to be about results moving forward and ability of getting better. And I made the decision to do this.
"I wouldn't say it didn't work out. I just think it's time to move on."
The two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, according to ESPN, leading to the Wizards' decision to move on from Brooks.
Wizards stars Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook endorsed bringing back Brooks after the team lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Westbrook had been reunited this season with Brooks, who coached him while in Oklahoma City.
"I take all that into account," Sheppard said when asked about the endorsements for Brooks from Beal and Westbrook. "I had thorough conversations with everyone in the organization. I am aware of how people feel. I am aware of how I feel.
"This is showbiz, it's not show-friends. And what we got to do as an organization is continue to do whatever it takes to have sustainable winning."
Brooks helped guide Washington (34-38) to the postseason for the first time in three seasons. The Wizards qualified for the NBA Play-In Tournament and ultimately earned the eighth seed before the 76ers eliminated them.
In five seasons with the Wizards, Brooks compiled a 183-207 record with three playoff appearances, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2016-17 campaign.
The Wizards will begin their coaching search while also trying to figure out the future of Beal, who is entering the final year of his contract next season. Sheppard said the team's search would be "very thorough, very robust" and will include a "very diverse, inclusive group of people."
There are now six head-coaching openings in the NBA: Boston, Indiana, New Orleans, Orlando, Portland and Washington.