- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2003

The Washington Wizards yesterday cut their ties with former assistant general manager Rod Higgins after he and president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld agreed to part ways.

“Rod and I both agree that parting company at this time is best for both parties,” Grunfeld said in a statement. “Rod has worked very hard over the last three years and has been a true professional during this transition period. Rod is a friend, and I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Higgins joined the Wizards as assistant GM in 2000, not long after Michael Jordan became president of basketball operations and made Higgins his first front-office hire. Before that, Higgins had spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

Had Jordan been retained by the Wizards, it was believed Higgins eventually would have been elevated in the organization. But when owner Abe Pollin decided in May not to bring Jordan back as president, it became only a matter of time before most of Jordan’s hires would depart. First Doug Collins was fired as coach, then Patrick Ewing was released as an assistant coach and Fred Whitfield as director of player personnel.

Phone calls to Higgins were not returned yesterday, but the team released a statement from him indicating the parting was amicable.

“I’m grateful to the Wizards for the opportunity,” Higgins said. “I enjoyed my three years in Washington and wish this team only the best in the future.”

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