- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2000

The Washington Wizards have been here before.

The NBA's draft lottery turned sour again for the Wizards, who needed to finish with one of the top three picks in order to keep the pick. That didn't happen, and as a result Washington will have only the 35th pick in the 2000 NBA Draft on June 28.

The Wizards' pick, which would have been seventh overall, will go to the Chicago Bulls, who acquired the pick from Golden State last season. Washington traded away the choice as part of the Chris Webber trade with the Warriors in 1994.

President of basketball operations Michael Jordan, who is in the process of hiring a coach, was not surprised the Wizards did not get one of the top three picks.

"Unfortunately we didn't get what we were hoping for," Jordan said. "But in all honesty we had to plan as if we didn't have it. So I don't think that's going to change the way we pursue trying to get this organization back to where we have to get it. We have some things working that we have to stay focused on. It would have been great to have that wild card to add to some of the creativity you can do in the offseason. Unfortunately that didn't fall our way."

The Wizards' chances to snag the top pick were 64 in 1,000.

Luck, however, found its way to the New Jersey Nets, which got the top pick despite only 44 chances in 1,000. New Jersey (31-52) would have picked seventh overall. However, the Nets knocked the Bulls out of the top three and ultimately beat out Vancouver and the Los Angeles Clippers for the top pick. The Clippers, who finished with the worst record (15-67) in the league, had a 25 percent chance of getting the first pick but wound up third.

Chicago will pick fourth and seventh.

Jordan acknowledged the team would look for "diamond in the rough" with the 35th pick. He also said the team would explore trade opportunities in the coming months.

However, most of the emphasis yesterday was on the team's coaching vacancy, which Jordan earlier said he he wanted to fill by the draft lottery. St. John's coach Mike Jarvis is believed to be the leading candidate for the job. Jordan and Jarvis' representative, District-based attorney Robert Ades, last talked on Friday. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Wizards made an offer for three or fours years at approximately $2-3 million annually. It is believed Jarvis wants a longer deal in the range of $3-4 million annually. The sides likely will talk again today.

A deal did not seem eminent last night. And Jordan made things interesting when he suggested there still were other candidates for the job.

"In all actuality, there are a lot of other candidates out there just as qualified," Jordan said about Jarvis, who makes $735,000 annually as the coach of the Red Storm. "And we have made contact with those guys. Certainly he's one of the guys who is interesting, as well as some of the other guys. We're still in conversation with some of the candidates.

"We're looking to make sure that the match is a great match financially as well as from a coaching standpoint. We're going to continue to work at it. I wish it could have been today. But you don't just try to meet a deadline and put in a bad choice for our organization. We want to take our time and make sure that we make the right choice."

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