There are multiple reports here and here today that the Wizards are in various stages of landing Flip Saunders as their next coach.
Shouldn’t come as a surprise. Saunders’ name has been the top of the list of possible replacements for Eddie Jordan since the Wizards gave Jordan the boot the week of Thanksgiving. And in talking to people around the league since the All-Star break, everything continues to point to Saunders, although Avery Johnson and Sam Mitchell’s names come up as other possible candidates in that order following Saunders.
Saunders was a guest coach with the Wizards during training camp this year, and is the big-name/offensive-minded candidate the Wizards are believed to be seeking.
Johnson possibly would have more of an impact in upgrading the Wizards’ defensive play and Antawn Jamison has told me that he’s the type of championship-caliper player Washington needs. But through the grape vine, I hear Gilbert Arenas has said Johnson’s not the type of coach he’d be fond of.
Ernie Grunfeld and Abe Pollin have both deflected talk about the next coach, saying they will “address it at the appropriate time,” out of respect for Ed Tapscott. Both are pleased with how Tap has made the young players work for playing time and pushing his players as if they were in a playoff race. But I’ve been led to believe that he had no real shot of having the interim tag removed.
I’m down here at Verizon Center waiting for practice to conclude and will check back in with any new updates from that.