The Washington Wizards are bad. They have started 2-8 and are getting outscored by 10.1 points per 100 possessions, with a bottom seven offense and defense. Worse than all those numbers is the player interaction and body language — guys jogging through cuts (John Wall, we’re looking at you), player not high fiving or even communication much on the court, and when Bradley Beal or another player gets knocked down driving to the rim it’s often guys on the other team there to help him back up.
In most places, that means coach Scott Brooks would be next to hang out with Tyronn Lue
sipping margaritas on a beach in Mexico happy to be away from the disaster of their rosters in the unemployment line.
Not in Washington. Brooks is safe. The amazing Candace Buckner of the Washington Post laid out the three reasons Brooks is safe.
1. He’s guaranteed $21 million from an organization that has soared past the luxury tax despite its roster holes.
2. He heads a revamped staff with only one longtime assistant experienced in taking over head coaching duties.
3. Most of all, he works for an owner who may be willing to press the eject button on his NHL coaches but practices the patience of a monk when it comes to making changes to his basketball operations.
I would suggest No. 1 is the big reason — owner Ted Leonsis does not have the reputation of a big spender around the league, and while he is $7.6 million into the luxury tax with the roster, he’s not going to compound that by paying a second coach. Brooks is just starting the third season of a fully guaranteed five-year deal, that’s a lot of money to pay a guy to go away.
The problem for the Wizards is there is no good way out of this mess. John Wall starts his designated veteran max contract NEXT season and there are four years of it, plus he has a 15 percent trade kicker now so if the Wizards do trade him there is a massive lump-sum payment to be made. The Wizards couldn’t find a taker for Wall right now. Otto Porter has two seasons after this one at $27.3 million and $28.5 million (the second one is a player option he almost certainly picks up). Maybe there will be a taker for Porter this summer, but not during this season.
Bradley Beal has two years left on his contract after this ($27.1 million and $28.8 million) and he will draw the most trade interest — he’s also their best player right now. The Wizards don’t want to trade him.