Washington Wizards Coach Flip Saunders Fired; Randy Witman To Replace Him

2:04 PM, Jan 24, 2012   |    comments
Flip Saunders reacts during a game against the Denver Nuggets (Brad Mills/US PRESSWIRE)
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Somebody has to take the fall when an organization becomes as laughable as the Washington Wizards and on Tuesday, Wizards head coach Flip Saunders was handed a pink slip from owner Ted Leonsis.

The move was first reported by Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski but has been widely speculated since the beginning of the season. The Wizards 2-15 start is easily the worst in franchise history and  they rank near the bottom of the league in both points scored (88.6) and points allowed (99.3).

Saunders had no idea what he was getting himself into when he was hired back in April of 2009. Sure the money was amazing (four years, $18 million). Still, the Wizards were a franchise who had committed its entire existence on Gilbert Arenas -- a glorified clown in the locker room with no concrete concept of how to win in the NBA.


NBA.com Blog: Flip Out, Wittman In

After imploding the roster of solid veterans in Caron Butler and Antwan Jamison, the Wizards organization knew things were going to become rocky. But Ted Leonsis and especially the groaning fan base had no idea basketball would fall below the Redskins level of embarrassment in Washington.

Saunders necessarily isn't a terrible coach. It was more as if he was dealt a terrible hand. The Wizards players are some of the more immature in all of sports. They neglect their responsibilities as athletes to

Problem number one for the Wizards is seventh year forward Andray Blatche, who confirmed on 106.7 The Fan that the players "somewhat tuned out" Saunders this season. Blatche has been relentless booed and bashed on Twitter and many including myself think he could be on his way out the door next. Watching Blatche throw up an air ball or miss a rotation on defense became the epitome of the Saunders era in Washington.

The other gigantic conundrum became that the players didn't respect Saunders enough to work on their individual basketball skills during the lockout. John Wall's jump shot has regressed. JaVale McGee's post game is still erratic. Andray Blatche ... is still Andray Blatche, and not the leader he proclaimed himself to be in early December.

Kudos to Ted Leonsis for swallowing his pride and shelling out the cash necessary to rid the organization of Saunders. Leonsis has preached about rebuilding a sports team as a slow and painful process, but at a certain point, enough was enough. The Wizards players were never going to fully trust and listen to Saunders.

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