Wizards' Wes Unseld Jr out as head coach as team loses 36th game


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The Washington Wizards on Thursday removed Wes Unseld Jr. as its head coach and announced he would be transitioning to a front office advisory role.

The move came hours after the Wizards picked up their 36th loss of the season – a 118-107 defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Washington dropped to 7-36 overall.

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“After several thoughtful conversations with Wes, we determined together that a change was needed for the benefit of the team,” Monumental Basketball President Michael Winger said in a statement. “Wes embodies the characteristics we value in our organization, and his vast basketball experience will be an asset to the front office as we progress toward our long-term goals.

Wes Unseld Jr calls a play

Washington Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. calls a play against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half at State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Jan. 13, 2024. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

“We are thankful that he will continue his contributions to our organization and community.”

Unseld was an assistant coach with the Wizards from 2005 to 2011 before sitting on the bench for the Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets. He took over as Wizards head coach before the start of the 2021-22 season, but the team never won more than 36 games.

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Jordan Poole looks to shoot

Washington Wizards guard Jordan Poole, #13, looks to shoot past Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

“I am grateful to have served as head coach of the Washington Wizards,” Unseld said. “I look forward to this new opportunity to work toward our organization’s continued progress.”

Washington has only made the playoffs once in the last six seasons – that was under Scott Brooks during the coach’s final year with the team. Since then, the team’s roster has undergone as massive shakeup, as players like Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Rui Hachimura and Spencer Dinwiddie have come and gone.

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Wes Unseld Jr coaches

Washington Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. coaches against the New York Knicks during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Jan. 18, 2024. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The team said it would name an interim coach later and have a “comprehensive search” for a new coach in the offseason.

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