After Thursday's loss to the Indiana Pacers ended their season, a summer of decisions is upon the Wizards.
There are seven unrestricted free agents that need to be signed, including key players like Trevor Ariz and Marcin Gortat. But there is also the status of head coach Randy Wittman, whose contract expires and must be re-signed to a new deal or let go.
"I'm not even going to worry about that. I'm going to get a little bit of sleep here hopefully in the next day or two," Wittman said. "That all takes care of itself. Listen – I don't ever worry about that. I've told you guys that since I took over the job, you know? All I can do is try to do the best that I can do and improve myself as a coach as well as try to help my players become better."
After leading his team to a 44-38 record and to the second round of the NBA playoffs, Wittman has made a strong case to stay. His players, many of whom spoke at breakdown day on Friday at Friday Center, agree.
"I talked to one of the other assistant coaches and I told them this is probably - out of all my 15 years I've probably had maybe 15 to 16 coaches - the best I've been prepared going into games, going into playoffs," said veteran guard Andre Miller.
Wittman's track record was poor, though he's never coached a team as talented as this year's Washington roster. Miller played for him for two years in Cleveland and the Cavaliers won 62 games total. Things got worse in Minnesota when Wittman's teams managed just 44 wins over parts of three seasons. In his first two years with the Wizards, the records were 18-31 and 29-53 in his first full season.
"I wouldn't have a problem having that whole coaching staff back and that whole group of guys that I played with this season," point guard John Wall said. "It was probably the first time in a long time that I really enjoyed playing with a group of guys that competed and trusted in me to be their leader and point guard."
Added forward Al Harrington: "He deserves as much credit as the players. He really put us in position to do what we did, his schemes, his practices, the way he held guys accountable. He did a great job. I would really be upset if he's not the coach leading this team out that locker room next year. I think he really deserves it. He put in the work and guys responded to him at the end of the day. He never got to the point where he was talking on deaf ears and that's what coaching is all about. Guys respect him."
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