Wizards' Flip flops, gets fired

Posted: January 25, 2012

The NBA-worst Washington Wizards fired coach Flip Saunders on Tuesday after a 2-15 start and replaced him with assistant Randy Wittman.

The Wizards fell to 0-7 on the road with an embarrassing 20-point loss to the 76ers on Monday. "I felt like at this time, our players were not responding, and we needed a different voice," team president Ernie Grunfeld said.

He and Wittman spoke about playing a faster-paced, running game on offense and perhaps using more press tactics on defense. Grunfeld said the coaching change was his decision, although he got approval from owner Ted Leonsis - whose NHL team, the Washington Capitals, fired coach Bruce Boudreau in November.

Saunders was in his third season with the Wizards, going 51-130. When he was hired, the roster featured all-stars Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler, but the franchise is now starting over around point guard John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Washington got off to a franchise-worst 0-8 start - half of the losses were by at least 18 points - before beating the Toronto Raptors. The Wizards' only other victory was a surprise over the Thunder.

Feeling the Love

Kevin Love stepped to the free throw line late in the game against Houston and a fan shouted "Four more years! Four more years!"

Love is hoping for five, actually, and it won't be long before a season-long story line for the all-star power forward and the Timberwolves reaches a conclusion.

The deadline for players from the 2008 draft class to sign an extension is Wednesday night. If the Wolves and Love do not come to agreement, the new face of the franchise will become a restricted free agent this summer.

Love ranks fifth in the league with 24.9 points per game, second with 13.9 rebounds, and first with 39.4 minutes.

The new collective bargaining agreement allows the Timberwolves to offer Love more money than any other team. They can offer him a maximum salary contract of four years and roughly $60 million, or they can choose to use their one-time "designated player" contract for five years and about $80 million. Each team can only use one five-year contract during the term of the CBA, so the Wolves would like to save that chip.

- Associated Press

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