Report: Flip Saunders agrees to take over Washington Wizards

From Fox Sports:

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.

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113 Responses to Report: Flip Saunders agrees to take over Washington Wizards

  1. wufpup76 04/14/2009 at 6:12 PM #

    I *hope* Sidney can make it work here so we don’t have to worry with Flip Saunders in the future 🙁 …

    Saunders has a heck of a rebuilding job in front of him … I had no idea the Wizards were that bad until I saw they had only 18 wins (now 19) as of last week. Are Antwan Jamison and Brendan Heyward still on that team?

  2. packpigskinfan23 04/14/2009 at 6:22 PM #

    The Wizards have played the whole season without their best(or better yet their ONLY good) player, Gilbert Arenas. They will be automatically 10x better with him in the lineup next season, and even better with Saunders as coach. The “rebuilding” will not be that difficult with a top 5 pick in the draft.

    Will Sidney follow? I doubt it… not this year. Maybe next.

  3. CStanley 04/14/2009 at 7:28 PM #

    Is there any chatter about this relative to Sidney to make this newsworthy on this site?

  4. 61Packer 04/14/2009 at 7:44 PM #

    Lowe AIN’T gonna quit here, no matter how deep he and his staff bury this program. Well, maybe not bury- you can’t bury the dead.

  5. Noah 04/14/2009 at 8:23 PM #

    I have no idea if Lowe will quit or not, but I could see several situations where Lowe would quit.

  6. wufpup76 04/14/2009 at 10:05 PM #

    “The “rebuilding” will not be that difficult with a top 5 pick in the draft.”

    ^Ohh. Ok. As you can tell I pay LOTS of attention to the nba.

  7. ryebread 04/14/2009 at 10:10 PM #

    I’m asking the same thing that CStanley is. Is there any smoke here?

    I also tend to agree with 61Packer — though maybe not quite as negatively. I do doubt that Lowe would quit.

  8. Dr. BadgerPack 04/15/2009 at 1:50 AM #

    I’m giving Lowe this season. No excuses. He should be able to finish in the upper half with his players. It’s very doable.

  9. Alpha Wolf 04/15/2009 at 5:51 AM #

    I can’t connect the dots here.

    If Sid wants to return to the NBA of his volition, that’s one thing, but I just don’t see him being forced out by NC State. And he should not be, not yet.

    Fans may be incredibly hungry and impatient for a winner, but let’s let the man have one complete recruiting cycle before we rush to judgement. If that’s not for Sid’s sake, consider it a wise thing to do to position the program for the next hire.

  10. Wolfpack_1995 04/15/2009 at 6:26 AM #

    From what I am reading it looks like Sid going to the Wizards would be a good buffer for him in terms of leaving NC State IF NEEDED.

    There seems to be a lot of smoke regarding Sid, QT, and Fowler.

    Let’s say that Fowler is out and more things arise from the QT situation and more light is shined on Sid. Maybe Sid will not want to face the light and opts to go back to the NBA. He only needs 2 more years of service in the NBA to qualify for a pension.

    Joining Flip’s staff would offer Sid a nice cushion if he were to leave the program and keep certain things in the b-ball program from getting exposed(not sure what these things are exactly)

    My only concern is that if Sid were to leave then who in the Hell are we going to find to replace him. We’d be in even more of a bind that when Sendek left us.

  11. StateFans 04/15/2009 at 6:44 AM #

    What is the “QT” situation? Do you mean “QJ”?

  12. PoppaJohn 04/15/2009 at 7:18 AM #

    I can’t imagine Sid leaving State to go do the same job he did previously, for a weaker team. Why?
    I also wouldn’t want any Wolfpack coach to quit.
    I hold on to the hope that Fowler came to the same conclusion that some of us have, our best bet to get a star coach is to find an “up and comer” (like “V” and “K”) and give him time to grow into the role. Maybe Sid isn’t it, but I hope that is what Fowler was thinking.
    Based on his performance to date, I am not optimistic about Sid – but we have to give him time to get his recruits in, and some time to figure out the college game … and hope for the best. We’ve committed to a path, we need to stick with it.

  13. packbackr04 04/15/2009 at 7:45 AM #

    didnt the QJ thing happen over a year ago? why is this still an issus relative to fowler and Sid’s current situtation.

    I will reiterate. if sid was leaving, why would he have offered Josh Davis a schollie? the answer, he wouldnt. he would have left it for the new coach to use as he saw fit. no my friends, Sidney is now a desperate man who is grasping at straws(ie. one star underrecruited players) in a final attempt to get something/anything going before he is ultimately fired next year.

    SFN: No offense…but you are falling for a classic ‘trap’ in your analysis that we see a bunch — basically, since you wouldn’t personally make a decision (&/or have enough information to come to a particular conclusion) then of course that conclusion can’t happen.

    The old “why would Mr. X do that” trap happens all of the time and is something you need to be careful about.

    Just because you/me/others wouldn’t make a decision (or don’t know all of the drivers behind a decision) doesn’t mean that the decision won’t happen.

    Please note that I share all of ^that as a general observation and not necessarily related to the topic at hand.

  14. Noah 04/15/2009 at 8:05 AM #

    I have no inside information…but I can connect a few dots. Remember…this is a hypothetical:

    What if Lowe knows that his biggest cheerleader is Fowler? What if he knows that there is a faction of people with actual power (as opposed to…me…you…the other folks on this board) that want a new coach? If Fowler really is out, he knows that he has run out of time. Obviously, the reclamation project known as NCSU basketball is not a one-year project. Knowing that he’s got less than one year to do a two- or three-year job, he takes advantage of a soft place to land.

    That’s purely a guess…but it looks plausible to me.

    Be objective. The track record of pro coaches with no college experience making the transition from the NBA to the NCAA is terrible. It’s absolutely horrible. (And that’s including some coaches who didn’t have .250 winning percentages in the NBA.) Lowe has been here for three years and has done NOTHING to make anyone think his experience would be any different. He’s going into his fourth year in the toughest conference in the country with a team of midgets and a bunch of true freshmen and he still doesn’t have a league-average point guard.

    Ask anyone who isn’t related to Sidney Lowe or overly-sentimental about March/April 1983 what the odds of success are.

  15. Daily Update 04/15/2009 at 8:15 AM #

    How much do assistants in the NBA make? Does anyone have any factual information on the the NBA pension plan?

    I did a couple of searches and didn’t find anything.

  16. packbackr04 04/15/2009 at 8:18 AM #

    SFN^ thats a fair counterpoint, and you are right. i have no information that my above analysis is factual. it is, as you said, me saying to myself “if i were Sid, would i be doing all these crazy things, like offering a one star kid? or going after ANOTHER 5’9″ point guard from Florida when the real need on the team is post players” and the answer, at least to myself, is no. i wouldnt. And there has to be a reason Sid is making these ridiculous decisions. it only makes sense to me that he knows his time is running short and he is trying to make something/anything happen

    something has changed his mindset in recent months, and i guess that is the larger point. I believe it was Noah who said recently in regards to the Josh Davis Scholarship allocation. “I suppose we are now to assume these are the waters that Sid will be fishing from now on.” and that is scary for State fans

  17. Daily Update 04/15/2009 at 8:22 AM #

    packbacker04: As far as Josh Davis, the Aussie and the kid in Fla, I think Sid knows next year is his only chance to save his career at NC State. So there is no reason not to use every available scholarship.

    Which isn’t necessarily a good thing for the program.

  18. Thinkpack17 04/15/2009 at 8:22 AM #

    “He’s going into his fourth year in the toughest conference in the country with a team of midgets and a bunch of true freshmen and he still doesn’t have a league-average point guard.”

    If Javi can get some consistency I think he will be better than league average…Mays too. Granted the league PG play does drop a little with, Hurdle, McClinton, Greives, Lawson, Douglas, and Teague gone. Ok it drops a lot…but my point still remains.

  19. Thinkpack17 04/15/2009 at 8:24 AM #

    ^^^Oh and Rice.

  20. Wulfpack 04/15/2009 at 8:34 AM #

    If the reports are true that Lee is out then Lowe knows his time may be running out. It’s put up or shut up time whether or not LF is fired. But if he is fired, there is no more buddy system to speak of provided the dismal condition of our athletics program.

  21. Noah 04/15/2009 at 8:34 AM #

    if i were Sid, would i be doing all these crazy things, like offering a one star kid?

    There was a comedian named Robert Wuhl (he was Larry, the pitching coach, in Bull Durham) who used to do a bit about Superman. The bad guy would empty his gun at Superman and the Man of Steel would just grin and take the bullets off his chest.

    Then, the bad guy would get desperate at THROW the gun at Jor-El. And Superman would DUCK. The bullets? No problem….but hey! Watch where you’re throwing that pistol, bub!

    Getting turned down by John Wall and Demarcus Cousins and Derek Favors is running out of bullets. Giving scholarships to Josh Davis and the kid from Miami is throwing your pistol.

  22. Bubba 04/15/2009 at 8:37 AM #

    Off topic, but I’m surprised Archie left Matta’s staff to join Sean at U of A. I was thinking Arch would be next from Matta’s staff to get a head coach gig(next year)

    Also, IMO, Sid will get a 5th year at NCState regardless of the AD

  23. choppack1 04/15/2009 at 8:40 AM #

    While some things may be falling into place in some areas, I don’t know if this means anything short term. But I don’t know some things that others obviously know.

    As it pertains to the overall status of our b’ball program, there are some pretty alarming things happening right now:
    1) We’re supposedly recruitting another short, Miami-based PG. Read into this what you may – but no matter how you look at it, the last thing this program needs is another guard who can only play the 1 spot.
    2) If you look at the 2010 seniors, aside from an excellent commit in Harrow, I didn’t see the name NC State in a lot of places amongst the Top 100/150 names the last time I perused it.
    3) I’m not going to criticize giving Davis a scholarship – but it should raise some eyebrows since a) he doesn’t fill an immediate gap AND b) he’s not that highly rated. I’m thrilled that he’s here -and I do believe that in the right system, w/ the right coaching, he can contribute, maybe even next year.

    The good news is that the last time things looked this bad, we ended up in the NCAAs. Actually, let me rephrase that, the second-to-last time things looked this bad, we ended up going to the NCAAs. (That year, we started 2 seniors, 1 sophomore, and 2 freshmen.)

  24. Alpha Wolf 04/15/2009 at 8:44 AM #

    “He’s going into his fourth year in the toughest conference in the country with a team of midgets and a bunch of true freshmen and he still doesn’t have a league-average point guard.”

    The toughest conference these days is the Big East and it doesn’t appear to be a trend that will change any time soon.

    As for a team of midgets, there are a number of teams that have done well without big men. Villanova comes to mind, and had we gone to a FF, we wouldn’t have cared if our team came straight off the set of “Little People” and onto the arena floor.

    HOWEVER, your point is valid, overall…it’s not going to be an easy year next year, and that year will have serious expectations associated with it.

  25. Thinkpack17 04/15/2009 at 8:49 AM #

    “As for a team of midgets, there are a number of teams that have done well without big men. Villanova comes to mind, and had we gone to a FF, we wouldn’t have cared if our team came straight off the set of “Little People” and onto the arena floor.”

    Maryland was 6’5″ last year. From 1-5.

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