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New coach added

The Wizards will announce soon that they have hired a new assistant coach: former Houston Rockets asst. Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau will effectively replace Bill Berry, who was not asked back, and Tom Young, who has retired. So far, I'm assuming that Thibodeau will be the lead assistant on a staff that will still include Eddie Jordan's guys: Mike O'Koren, Phil Hubbard and Wes Unseld Jr.

Their contracts were up late last week but Ernie Grunfeld has said that he was in the process of working on extensions for all of them. I've been told that Eddie was very involved with the interview process and signed off on the addition Thibodeau even though I know for a fact that Eddie liked his staff as it was. That said, Abe Pollin and Ernie have wanted a "defensive-minded" assistant on that staff since last summer and Thibodeau's background as a longtime assistant under Jeff Van Gundy would seem to fit the bill.

I'm waiting to speak with all of the parties involved and will have more details later. Oh, I have to clarify one thing: someone on the blog wrote a comment saying that Eddie was not at Verizon Center on draft night. He was. He didn't meet with reporters and he's been keeping a very low profile all summer but he was in the house and I hear that he liked the selection of Nick Young and Dominic McGuire.

Wait: more breaking news: I just received a call informing me that Juan Carlos Navarro has been cleared by his team in Barcelona to get out of his contract and negotiate a deal in the NBA. That would mean the Wizards, of course, because they hold Navarro's NBA rights. Don't have details on the money stuff yet and have no idea what Ernie's plan is but I'll find out more and update later.


By Ivan Carter  |  July 3, 2007; 1:58 PM ET
 
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