Wizards announce Wes Unseld is no longer head coach as he moves into front-office role

Washington Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. in action during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
The Wizards have effectively fired head coach Wes Unseld Jr. after leading the team to a 7-36 record through 43 games. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Washington Wizards are making a change at head coach. The team announced Thursday morning that Wes Unseld Jr. is moving out of his role as head coach and transitioning to a front-office role.

"After several thoughtful conversations with Wes, we determined together that a change was needed for the benefit of the team," said Michael Winger, president of Monumental Basketball. "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 forward toward our long-term goals. We are thankful that he will continue his contributions to our organization and community."

"I am grateful to have served as head coach of the Washington Wizards," Unseld said in a statement provided by the team. "I look forward to this new opportunity to work toward our organization's continued progress."

Unseld had been Washington's head coach since July 2021. The Wizards named top assistant Brian Keefe as the team's interim coach, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported the team will do a full offseason search for a new head coach.

Unseld ends his time as Wizards head coach with a 77-130 record. He had identical records of 35-47 in the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 regular seasons, but things took a sharp downturn this season with the Wizards at 7-36.

That might not be all Unseld's fault. The Wizards traded megastar Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns in June 2023, lowering their talent level significantly. But 7-36 and the second-worst record in the NBA may have been a bridge too far for the Wizards' brass.

The Wizards play their next game Thursday night at home against the Utah Jazz.