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“Flip is an outstanding basketball man,” Grunfeld said. “When I hired him there was a completely different roster and completely different makeup to the team.”

Saunders has coached teams to at least 50 wins in six seasons; he totaled 49 wins in his first two with the Wizards and has just two wins this season. He’s clearly wasn’t a good fit for this green work-in-progress. Wittman suggested that the team needs more tough love, and he aims to provide it.

“Sometimes when you have such a young team, players get a little confused when the word ‘development’ is used,” Wittman said. “They think they’re going to be able to develop by just playing. Development happens on the practice floor. You have to earn what you get out on the game floor.

“… We have to develop these kids, there’s no question about it. But there comes a point where if you know you’re going to be out there, you’ll play whatever way you want to play. I think that has to change a little bit.”

Wittman said he would’ve walked, too, if he didn’t believe the Wizards can compete on a higher level more often. They certainly can’t be much less competitive than they were under Saunders night in and night out.

So it’s best for both parties that he’s no longer around.

Everybody else has to make the most of what’s left.