Scott Brooks wants to focus on the Wizards, not Kevin Durant

In his first press conference as coach of the Washington Wizards, Scott Brooks had to get an early question about soon-to-be free agent Kevin Durant, right?


Fifteen minutes went by before someone finally asked the question that needed to be asked.

“Let’s get this out of the way: Are you going to bring Kevin Durant here?” A reporter asked.

Unfortunately, Brooks didn’t talk about his former player. He only wanted to talk about how excited he was to take over a team that failed to make the playoffs during the 2015-16 season. The speculation about Durant’s return still remains, however.

“I’m excited about the team, guys,” Brooks said with a smile. “We have a great group of guys. I understand the question. But I’m excited about the group of guys we have here. When this season ended, when I was looking around, I knew that this is the place I wanted to be.”

The rumors of Durant’s move from Oklahoma City to the Wizards have been going on long before Brooks was announced as the coach. Durant is originally from D.C. The hiring of Brooks, who coached Durant to the 2012 NBA Finals, reignited the speculation of Durant leaving theThunder and heading to the nation’s capital.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis didn’t help end the rumors Wednesday

“We’ve been planning over a five-year arc on building around young players and then having cap space so that we could add to the team,” Leonsis said. “But they’re free agents, and I underline free. Players can play wherever they want. They’ve earned that right. It’s up to us, especially in ownership, to create an environment, to create a destination to have a situation where players want to come and play.”

Heading into the Brooks regime, things look good for the Wizards. They have a young backcourt of Bradley Beal and John Wall, along with Kelly Oubre Jr. and Otto Porter. Both Oubre Jr. and Porter are younger than 23 years old and will be needed to contribute if the Wizards plan on reemerging as a threat in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, the pursuit for Durant will have to wait. Oklahoma City just knocked off the Dallas Mavericks in five games and move on to play the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals.