Scott Brooks, the new coach of the Washington Wizards, doesn’t sound very optimistic about prying Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder during the offseason.
Former Thunder coach Brooks, who shares close ties with Durant, was viewed as a catalyst to try and bring the superstar forward to his hometown franchise during free agency. While addressing an introductory press conference on Wednesday, Brooks was asked the million-dollar question: “Let’s get this out of the way: Are you going to bring Kevin Durant here (to Washington)?”
Scott Brooks dodges KD question…
Brooks knew that the Durant questions were coming. And he seemed prepare to handle them. “I’m excited about the team, guys,” the Wizards coach said with a broad smile. “We have a great group of guys. I understand the question. But I’m excited about the group of guys we have here. When this season ended, when I was looking around, I knew that this is the place I wanted to be.”
Prior to signing Brooks, the Wizards didn’t make any promises about landing Durant. Also, there wasn’t any mention of Durant when the capital franchise released a statement to announce Brooks as their new coach. Earlier this year, ESPN’s Stephen A Smith reported that Washington were “out of the Durant sweepstakes”. Is there any truth to that story?
Priority: Developing the young core…
According to Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, Brooks’ hiring had more to do with the coach’s proven track record to develop youngsters. Remember, Brooks was largely responsible for the development of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook from green rookies to established superstars. Could he do the same with the likes of John Wall and Bradley Beal? It remains to be seen.
“We’ve been planning over a five-year arc on building around young players and then having cap space so that we could add to the team. But they’re free agents, and I underline free. Players can play wherever they want. They’ve earned that right. It’s up to us, especially in ownership, to create an environment, to create a destination to have a situation where players want to come and play,” revealed Leonsis, who also conviently dodged all questions pertaining to Durant.
Will Scott Brooks help the Wizards return to the playoffs? Will Kevin Durant grant them a meeting in free agency?