Flip Saunders has agreed to become the new coach of the Washington Wizards, with an announcement expected next week, according to an NBA executive.
You may remember that Sidney Lowe served as an assistant to Saunders with the Detroit Pistons prior to his hiring at NC State. Lowe originally joined Saunders in Minnesota in 2003 prior to their move to Detroit in 2005.
Owner Abe Pollin has approved the hiring of Saunders, the choice of president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld to succeed interim coach Ed Tapscott, the executive told The Associated Press. The executive spoke on condition of anonymity because the season has not ended and the Wizards are not yet prepared to make a formal announcement.
The announcement isn’t expected until next week because the Wizards’ season ends Wednesday, and Grunfeld will be out of town for the NBA Board of Governors meetings Thursday and Friday.
Saunders will be taking over the worst team in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards are 19-62 after Monday night’s home loss to Toronto and need to win their final game at Boston to avoid matching the franchise mark for worst record over an 82-game season.
Saunders has coached for 13 NBA seasons, 10 with Minnesota and three with Detroit, with a career record of 587-396. Eleven of those teams made the playoffs, and he led the Pistons to three consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference finals from 2006 to 2008.