Beal calls Brooks not coming back 'tough' but he trusts the team's vision


Editor's note: This story and headline have been updated to correct a mistake in the headline and text of the story.

As the Washington Wizards move through the second round of interviews in their head coaching search, soon general manager Tommy Sheppard will meet with the team's star guards Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook to discuss the finalists and get their feedback before making the final decision on whom to hire.

Beal told NBC Sports Washington of those plans in an interview ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. He is in training camp with Team USA while the Wizards continue to search for a replacement for Scott Brooks, whose contract expired. 

While discussing the current search, Beal made sure to show respect for Brooks, who coached him for five years and oversaw his ascension to a perennial All-Star and first-time All-NBA selection.

"When I first got the news, it was tough. Scotty was great. This is my second coach I've played for and even when I talked to him afterwards, [I said] how grateful I was towards him. He helped change my game and evolved my game to what it is now," Beal said from Las Vegas while promoting Rockin' Protein drinks.

"He allowed more freedom into the game, me handling the ball and making plays, driving me to be who I am today. I always tell him I'm appreciative of that. Whether I'm rocking against you in another conference, or whatever it is your future holds. I was appreciative of our time, regardless of what people may say. You were great."


Beal added the team getting a new coach was a part of the business of the NBA and that he trusts Sheppard's vision moving forward. The Wizards are now three weeks into their search, which Sheppard indicated early on would take some time.

The Wizards have honed in on a group of assistant coaches from around the NBA. That may explain why it has taken this long, as the Wizards are vetting people who do not have previous track records as head coaches to evaluate.

Sheppard suggested the start of NBA free agency on Aug. 2 would be the deadline for the search and Beal seems to agree it would be wise to make a decision before the next steps in the offseason arrive.

"The ball is in his court, but obviously the first step in business moving forward. We've definitely gotta nail that down so we can figure out who we want for the draft and free agency. We've gotta make sure we get all that down first before moving forward," Beal said.