Wizards Rumors: Wes Unseld Jr., Darvin Ham Are 'Front-runners' for Head Coach Vacancy

Adam WellsJuly 14, 2021

ORLANDO, FL - JULY 21: Wes Unseld Jr. of the Denver Nuggets coaches during practice as part of the NBA Restart 2020 on July 21, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Wizards reportedly have two front-runners for their head-coaching job, with a third candidate also in the mix. 

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Denver Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham are considered the front-runners to be hired by Washington. 

Wojnarowski also noted that Bucks assistant Charles Lee is also a finalist for the job. 

The Wizards have conducted an extensive search to find a new head coach. Their list of candidates interviewed has included Sam Cassell, Chris Fleming, Ronald Nored, Chris Quinn and Willie Green. 

Per Wojnarowski, Green is currently negotiating with the New Orleans Pelicans to take over as their head coach. 

Unseld, Ham and Lee have been among the most popular coaching candidates for the six teams that had openings. Unseld was in the mix for the Orlando Magic before they hired Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley. 

Lee was strongly in contention for the Pelicans before Green emerged as the coach the organization wanted. 

The Wizards are looking for a new head coach for the first time in five years. Scott Brooks parted ways with the organization in June when general manager Tommy Sheppard elected not to renew his contract. 

Unseld began his coaching career as an assistant with the Wizards on Eddie Jordan's staff in 2005. He spent six seasons with the team before moving on to the Golden State Warriors (2011-12), Orlando Magic (2012-15) and Nuggets.

Ham played with the Wizards for one season in 1997-98. The 47-year-old has been a top assistant for Mike Budenholzer since 2013 with the Atlanta Hawks. He joined Budenholzer in Milwaukee starting with the 2018-19 season.

Washington made the playoffs in three of its five seasons with Brooks as head coach. It finished last season 34-38 and made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed after beating the Indiana Pacers in the play-in tournament. It lost to the Philadephia 76ers in the first round.