Wes Unseld Jr. Reportedly Agrees to 4-Year Contract as Wizards' New Head Coach

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 17, 2021

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. reportedly agreed to a four-year contract to make him their next head coach Saturday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the two sides worked over the past day to reach a formal agreement.

Unseld emerged as the favorite amid a wide search of potential candidates in recent days. 

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a statement:

"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.

"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."

Unseld is the son of late Hall of Famer Wes Unseld Sr., who played for the franchise that would later become the Wizards from 1968 to 1981. He also coached the team from 1988 to 1994.

Unseld Jr. has been an assistant at the NBA level since 2005. He spent the first portion his career as an assistant with the Wizards from 2005 to 2011 before stints with the Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic and Nuggets over the last decade.

Denver hired Unseld as part of Michael Malone's staff in 2015, and he worked his way up the bench to become an associate head coach this season. The Nuggets have made the playoffs each of the last three seasons, including a run to the Western Conference Finals in 2019-20. 

"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," Unseld Jr. said. "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 Jr. previously spent time in the Wizards organization as a scout before beginning his coaching career. He will replace Scott Brooks, who coached the Wizards to a 183-207 record in five seasons.

The Wizards have not finished better than 4th in the Eastern Conference since 1978-79.


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