Head coach Scott Brooks' future has not yet been determined and it may take some time before it is, but Russell Westbrook made it known on Wednesday night he wants him to stay and gave Brooks a very strong vote of confidence. Westbrook said not only should Brooks return, but that it shouldn't even be a question.
Well, it is a question and, when asked about Westbrook's comments the following morning, Brooks decided to send some appreciation back in the other direction.
"Players are what I care about. This is what I love to do. I know we all have some work to do, but I appreciate Russell, what he’s brought to our organization. He’s come in here and really made us better," Brooks said.
Brooks continued to heap praise on Westbrook, whom he's now coached for eight seasons combined between their two stints together in Oklahoma City and Washington. They are very close as far as players and coaches go, as Brooks oversaw Westbrook's progress from a rookie all the way to one of the biggest starts in the NBA.
Brooks believes Westbrook endorsing him says more about the direction of the Wizards than anything.
"For him to say that, he knows and he sees the potential in the group. I have a lot of respect for how he plays, how he treats his teammates, how he treats the staff, how he treats everybody. He’s the gold standard for how you act as a professional; on the court and off the court. I get to see it firsthand how he treats the flight attendants, how he treats our chef, how he treats everybody in the building. That’s, to me, the sign of a true champion," Brooks said.
Westbrook joined the Wizards in a December trade, which reunited him with Brooks. Clearly, there is mutual respect between the two, who helped lead the Wizards to their first playoff appearance in three years.
In addition to Westbrook saying he wants Brooks back, Brooks too said he would like to return. Whether happens is up to general manager Tommy Sheppard.