The Washington Wizards officially announced the hiring of Scott Brooks as the franchise's 24th head coach Tuesday. The sides agreed to a five-year deal worth $35 million, according to people with knowledge of the situation, making Brooks the only coach, player or team executive under contract through the 2020-21 season. Brooks, who is now one of the six highest-paid coaches in the NBA, will be introduced a news conference today at Verizon Center. "I am beyond thrilled to return to coaching with a team that is filled with such potential and to be able to join an organization that is committed to helping us reach our goals," he said in a statement. "I'm very grateful to [team owner] Ted Leonsis and [president] Ernie Grunfeld for this opportunity and I can promise the great fans of Washington that we will work extremely hard both on and off the court to represent them in a manner fitting the most powerful city in the world."
Brooks, 50, took last season off from coaching after six-plus seasons as the Oklahoma City Thunder's head coach. After replacing P.J. Carlisemo on an interim basis 13 games into the 2008-09 campaign, Brooks posted a .620 winning percentage during the regular season plus three trips to the Western Conference finals and an NBA Finals berth in 2012. He was named the NBA's Coach of the Year in 2010. A 10-year NBA veteran as an undersized point guard out of UC Irvine, Brooks gained a reputation as a players' coach, had his Thunder rank among the best defensive clubs annually, and is credited with helping develop the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka. The Thunder, however, never won a championship with Brooks, who was regularly criticized for his offensive sets, lineup configurations and substitution patterns.
"Scott's approach to the game, track record for player development and ability to communicate with his players made him the clear-cut choice to guide our team as we continue to rise as contenders in the Eastern Conference," Leonsis said. "His accomplishments as a coach are matched only by his sterling reputation around the league and we're confident that our fans and players alike will embrace and support him as he leads the way." Brooks' connection with Durant — the two are said to have a very good relationship — has sparked speculation that he was hired to help lure Durant, an impending free agent, back home to Washington this summer.
While the history between the two doesn't hurt, Grunfeld zeroed in on Brooks after firing Randy Wittman hours after Washington's season finale April 13 for reasons beyond Durant. He sought a coach that could foster the Wizards core's development, rekindle their defensive identity, and had experience winning. Grunfeld moved fast on Brooks and didn't interview any other candidates, partly out of fear that other teams, including the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers, would attempt to woo Brooks. The owners of the Rockets and the Minnesota Timberwolves reached out to Brooks before the Wizards secured him.
Washington and Brooks agreed to terms last Thursday after Grunfeld and vice president Tommy Sheppard visited Brooks in California. "Scott was our top candidate and we moved quickly on an agreement to make him our head coach," Grunfeld said. "His presence, the core players we have returning and our cap flexibility this summer have us all looking forward to the possibilities of what our team can accomplish."
Ravens: Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. will sign autographs and memorabilia today from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at ShopRite of Timonium at 37 W. Aylesbury Road. ... "Ravens Flock Party: Draft Edition" will be held at Hightopps Backstage Grille in Timonium on Thursday starting at 6 p.m. WBAL Radio and 98 Rock will broadcast the first round live. Ravens alumni Jamal Lewis and Duane Starks, Ravens cheerleaders and mascot Poe will be on site. For more information, go to baltimoreravens.com/flockparty. ... Ravens Flock Festival, presented by Verizon, will be held at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fans can watch the third day of the draft live on the RavensVision boards and participate in fan forums, kids-only autograph sessions and interactive games. Players scheduled to attend include Smith, Joe Flacco, Crockett Gillmore, Eric Weddle, Brandon Williams and the team's first 2016 draft pick. Alumni in attendance will include Lewis, Starks, Vonta Leach, Brad Jackson, Jarret Johnson, Edwin Mulitalo and Jeff Blackshear. The third-annual Retail Outlet Sale will held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside Gate D.
Minor league baseball: Bowie Baysox outfielder Mike Yastrzemski was selected Eastern League Player of the Week.
Minor league basketball: The Bay Area Shuckers, who play at Anne Arundel Community College, notified the American Professional Basketball League they are leaving the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based league. "We are exploring options at this point and aim to have a decision of our future home by the end of the summer," general manager John Wolfe said.
NHL: Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn was suspended by the NHL for three games for a high hit on Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie in Game 6 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Sunday. Schenn will miss the first three games of the 2016-17 season.
Men's college lacrosse: Loyola Maryland senior attackman Zach Herreweyers was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week, sophomore defenseman Foster Huggins Defensive Player of the Week, freshman Jacob Stover (McDonogh) Goalkeeper of the Week and freshman attackman Pat Spencer (Boys' Latin) Rookie of the Week. … Towson sophomore midfielder Mike Lynch (Boys' Latin) was named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week. … Johns Hopkins senior faceoff specialist Craig Madarasz was named Big Ten Specialist of the Week. ... Stevenson senior goalkeeper Connor Skeen (Towson High) received Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Defensive Player of the Week honors. … Salisbury was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association coaches' poll and by Laxmagazine.com.
Women's college lacrosse: Loyola Maryland senior goalkeeper Molly Wolf (Bryn Mawr) was honored as Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week, Navy sophomore Jenna Collins (River Hill) Midfielder of the Week and Mids freshman Meg O'Donnell Rookie of the Week. Navy sophomore attacker Julia Collins (River Hill), Boston University junior goalkeeper Caroline Meegan (Dulaney) and Greyhounds freshman attacker Hannah Powers received honorable mention. … Towson freshman midfielder Natalie Sulmonte was named CAA Rookie of the Week and Delaware junior attacker Jamie Schwartz (Mount Hebron) Co-Player of the Week. ... George Mason junior attacker Jacquelyn Spalding (South River) was named Atlantic 10 Conference Co-Player of the Week. ... Johns Hopkins sophomore midfielder Shannon Fitzgerald was voted StringKing National Player of the Week with 38.96 percent of the fan vote. ... Maryland senior defender Alice Mercer (Century) was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Penn State attacker Madison Carter (South River) was named Freshman of the Week.
Men's college soccer: UMBC added two recruits: attacking midfielder Tre McCalla and goalkeeper Tomas Potts (River Hill).
College baseball: Navy senior pitcher Luke Gillingham received Patriot League Player of the Week honorable mention. … Johns Hopkins senior right-hander Carter Burns was named Centennial Conference Pitcher of the Week. … Messiah sophomore Steven Ridings (Annapolis Area Christian) was selected Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Pitcher of the Week.
College golf: Maryland sophomore David Kocher made the All-Big Ten first team and won a Sportsmanship Award.
Baltimore Sun staff and news services contributed to this article.