With Washington Wizards eliminated, focus turns to futures of Bradley Beal, Scott Brooks

The Washington Wizards made the difficult decision to give up on the season when they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. The Wizards made the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, but were ousted in the first round by LeBron James and the Cavaliers. As they prepare to build their roster for the offseason, the Wizards will look at the futures of their top two players, Bradley Beal and Scott Brooks.

When the Washington Wizards lost to the Indiana Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, they had their eyes set on training camp for the 2015-16 season. However, rather than focusing on next season, there is a lot of focus on the future of the team.

EASTERN TIME. Tim Bontemps After the Washington Wizards ended their season Wednesday night in Philadelphia with a first-round Game 5 defeat against the 76ers, Bradley Beal said it was too early to declare his future intentions as he enters the final year of his contract. I don’t even know… We’re not going to think about it or even talk about it right now,” said Beal, who had 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Washington’s 129-112 loss. I hadn’t thought of that. While some took it as a sign that Beal might be ready to leave the team after nine years, the rest of his press conference struck a very different tone. He praised the young core of the team and the experience of playing alongside Russell Westbrook. word-image-8582 word-image-8583 1 Connected And when asked how he deals with outside noises about his future, he says he only worries about his own thoughts about the situation. At the end of the day, it’s all in my hands, Beale said. I think that’s my biggest problem. People can say what they want, but I know what I think, and I know it’s a rumor if it doesn’t come from the horse’s mouth. I’ll wait for them. They’re starting now. So nothing changes. I think it will be a lot more this year as I enter the last year of my contract, but for myself I’m relaxing, giving my body a break, and we’ll appreciate it when summer comes. Beal had no problem with a new contract for his coach, Scott Brooks, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Both he and Westbrook have approved Brooks as the coach to lead the team next season and beyond. All three men also praised the Wizards for their willingness to fight through adversity throughout the season. Washington had a poor start, exacerbated by a widespread outbreak of COVID-19, and made it to the playoffs after spending more than the first half of the season at the bottom of the East. For me, the most important thing is that we battled all year, said Beal, who had a strong individual season and finished second in the league with 31.3 points per game behind Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry (32 points). We didn’t start the way we wanted to, it frustrated everybody, I was frustrated at times too, I’m very optimistic, I’ve overcome a lot of adversity and I think we did it as a team, so I think we put ourselves in a position to win. We went with what we had, a lot of guys came on at times, a lot of different lineups throughout the year, so I’m happy with all that. I’m glad we participated and gave ourselves a chance at the end of the year. Clearly, we need to improve. We still have a lot of room for improvement on all fronts. Brooks has made no secret of his desire to return to Washington, D.C. He said he has not yet decided whether to extend his stay in the nation’s capital after the past five years. I love this place. I got to know [owner Ted Leonsis] and his family and his ownership group, and what I saw in the first four years, three and a half years, was really amazing, and I don’t know the exact date, the 10th. March [last year], right after the Knicks game, when the COVID suspended the game. That’s when I realized what a good owner was, Brooks said. And I saw it with my own eyes, he made every decision based on our team, our staff, our people, and that’s what a good organization needs. Just the people and what I saw there, I would want to live there. I love this place. I love the city. My family loves it. But like I said, that’s for later, and this year we focused on the season and that was more important than anything else. We shouldn’t be surprised that Westbrook supported Brooks’ return. He spent several seasons with Brooks in Oklahoma City before reuniting with him before this season when the Wizards acquired him from the Houston Rockets in exchange for John Wall. But Westbrook said he believes Brooks still has all the qualities he appreciated in him when they first worked together, and he hopes he remains his coach in the future. I don’t see any reason why Scott would go anywhere, said Westbrook, who has three years left on his contract. Not just because we’re close, but because he’s done a great job with our team, with our program since I’ve been here, and just [being around] our team and our coaching staff, you understand how big of an impact he’s had on this organization, and when I got here, I got to see it for myself. It’s still the same Coach Brooks, and he brings the intensity, the commitment, the way he played, but he’s a coach. It cannot be taught… If it were up to me, he wouldn’t have to go anywhere.

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