After a two-week process to decide to part ways with head coach Scott Brooks, it may take much longer than that for the Wizards to determine his replacement. General manager Tommy Sheppard avoided specifics in setting expectations on Wednesday both for what type of coach will be brought in and when.
As for the timeline, he mentioned the start of free agency on Aug. 2 as a general goal, so prospective players will know what they are signing up for. Other than that, it's more about finding the right person rather than getting them in sooner than later.
"The head coaching job bar none is the hardest job in an organization. It’s the hardest job in an NBA franchise. There’s a lot that goes into that," Sheppard said.
Sheppard promises a "very thorough, very diverse, very robust search." That indicates it will take time and could include a wide range of candidates. He also used the word "inclusive," which could suggest going beyond the traditional NBA head coaching norms, possibly to consider hiring the first woman head coach in NBA history.
As for what the next head coach will need to bring, Sheppard mentioned a few different qualities.
"I think everything starts with being a great communicator," Sheppard said.
He also highlighted the defensive end as being important. He also mentioned needing to make things easier for Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal on offense as an overall goal for the offseason. That could suggest someone with ideas for how to get them open more often.
Sheppard said the Wizards could follow an increasingly modern trend of the NBA where they hire a head coach and then assign what are essentially coordinators to offense and defense. They had that structure under Brooks to an extent, namely with assistant Mike Longobardi helping with defensive schemes.
The Wizards are now one of six NBA teams with a head coach vacancy. That list includes the Celtics, Blazers, Magic, Pelicans and Pacers.
Whomever the Wizards target, there will likely be some competition, but Sheppard is confident they will be able to find a good person for the job.
"I’m not worried about people that are interested in working as the head coach of the Washington Wizards. I’m getting bombarded [with texts and calls]," Sheppard said.