The Washington Wizards are in search of a new head coach after moving on from Wes Unseld Jr. during the 2023-2024 NBA campaign. After a 7-36 start to the season, the Wizards made the move and Unseld transitioned to a role in the front office.

Brian Keefe was named as the interim head coach for the Wizrda and they finished the regular season with a 15-67 record, second-worst in both the NBA and the Eastern Conference (one game ahead of the Detroit Pistons).

So, where do the Wizards go from here? Keefe is hanging on tightly as the betting favorite to be the next head coach in the latest odds, per BetOnline.

  • Brian Keefe: +300
  • Sam Cassell, Kenny Atkinson: +400
  • Phil Handy: +500
  • Chris Quinn: +600
  • Mike Budenholzer: +800

Charles Lee, Jerry Stackhouse, and Mark Jackson are all higher than +1000, so they are considered more long shots than the other names mentioned above. Right after the regular season ended, the Wizards made some staff changes but held on to Keefe, signaling that he would be one of the favorites for the job.

Examining some of the candidates for the Wizards 

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The Wizards have an important coaching search in progress. Unseld got the job in 2021 after the Scott Brooks era, and Unseld finished with an overall record of 77-130 with no playoff appearances. Keefe took over in January and went just 8-31 in 39 games, which is nothing to be too excited about. On the other hand, Keefe took over a patchwork roster and somehow had the Wizards win four of the final 13 games of the season to provide some hope for the future after a disastrous season.

After Keefe, the next two leading candidates on the odds are Sam Cassell and Kenny Atkinson. Cassell is currently an assistant with the Boston Celtics and has been an assistant coach since retiring from the NBA. He has stints as a coach with all of the Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, and Philadelphia 76ers before going to Boston.

Kenny Atkinson is one coach on this short list who has head coaching experience. He went 118-190 in four seasons with the Brooklyn Nets from 2016 until 2020, which included one trip to the NBA Playoffs. Other than that, he has assistant runs with all of the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Golden State Warriors. He was even an option for the Milwaukee Bucks if things didn't work out with Doc Rivers.

But, perhaps the most intriguing name on the list is Phil Handy, a current assistant in the playoffs with the Los Angeles Lakers. Handy has been an assistant in the NBA since 2011, spending time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors as well as two stints with the Lakers. He is highly regarded for his player development skills and is deserving of a head coaching opportunity, although he could be better off waiting and seeing what happens with Darvin Ham once the Lakers season comes to an end.

Nonetheless, the Wizards are casting a wide net for their next head coach with interim Brian Keefe leading the way for the time being.