It appears as though the Washington Wizards have won the race to secure former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, with reports suggesting the 50-year-old has penned a $35 million, five-year deal in America's capital.
The appointment comes hot on the heels of the Houston Rockets' reported interest in Brooks that surfaced on Wednesday. ESPN's Marc Stein reported that sources close to the Texas-based franchise were optimistic of securing the head coach as recently as Monday.
However, the California-native - who had been linked with succeeding Byron Scott at the L.A. Lakers this past week too - will reportedly head east and take on a young and vibrant Wizards unit who underwhelmed under Randy Wittman last term.
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The possibilities for Brooks in Washington are endless. Many have speculated that his influence will work on two fronts: first of all, the pursuit of Kevin Durant in free agency, and secondly, by developing John Wall the same way he made Russell Westbrook a dominating superstar at the one spot.
If Brooks can do one of those, he will have the foundation of a playoff contending side. If he can do both, he will have created a genuine title contender.
The likes of Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are guaranteed to return for the Wizards next season and that ensures that the 2010 NBA Coach of the Year has a fast-paced, mobile unit at his disposal, with the exception of the Polish center.
Only $45 million of their salary cap is accounted for heading into next season, which puts the Wizards in a great spot heading into free agency. They have a genuine, realistic shot of bringing Washington-native Durant home, and that speculation has only intensified in light of Brooks' appointment.
The 16-year NBA tactician posted a record of 338-207 in his time with the Thunder and made a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals among his five playoff appearances. He also posted a winning percentage of .620 during his tenure in Oklahoma and according to ESPN Stats & Information, that's the highest winning percentage of any coach never to win a championship.
He also guided Durant to the regular season MVP award in 2014 as well as helping James Harden break out as a superstar with his Sixth Man of the Year award in 2011.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, this contract moves Brooks into the top-tier of coaches in the NBA, with his $7 million annual salary comparable to Rick Carlisle's deal at the Dallas Mavericks.
Brooks, who won an NBA title as a player with the Houston Rockets in 1994, is believed to have been Washington's first choice to assume the head coach role. Their motivation behind appointing him lies in his ability to command the respect of his star players, something Wittman allegedly struggled to do with Wall and Beal.