Who Will Assist Flip?
Flip Saunders said he has yet to finalize his coaching staff and doesn't appear to be in a rush to have it filled. I've already reported that Saunders would love to bring former Minnesota Coach Randy Wittman and his former player Sam Cassell to sit on the bench with him (Saunders reiterated yesterday that Cassell still has to decide if his playing career is finished; although the league might do that for him). But I got a tip last night about another person who could be a member of Saunders's staff -- Terry Porter.
Yep, Porter, the guy who got unceremoniously canned this season in Phoenix after Suns General Manager Steve Kerr decided that he made a mistake by trying to de-D'Antoni his team and put fun-and-gun in slow motion. Porter played for Saunders for three seasons in Minnesota and later was an assistant on his staff in Detroit. Porter also was a head coach in Milwaukee for two seasons.
Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld said that Saunders will also interview some of Eddie Jordan's/interim coach Ed Tapscott's assistants. "A lot of people are calling. Flip has some relationships. Those things take time. There really is no urgency," he said.
Grunfeld explained why Saunders was really the only candidate he seriously considered for the job. "The things I was looking for were experience; someone with a track record; someone who has won, not only in the regular season, but also in the playoffs; a good communicator and someone that can get us back to the playoffs and do some damage when we get there. He fit into all those categories. I felt like he was the top candidate for us. He brings the whole package to the table. He brings a lot of credibility and a lot of knowledge. With knowledge, you get respect."
Grunfeld said he also wanted a player-friendly coach who runs an up-and-down offense and plays an exciting brand of basketball. Funny, didn't he just fire one of those guys last November?
One reporter asked Grunfeld to compare Saunders to Jordan, who had the most successful four-year run for a Wizards/Bullets Coach in the past 30 years. Grunfeld's response? "This is not about comparing coaches. Everybody has their own style and everybody plays the game their own way. We've had some good success in the past, except for this past season and as I said, it was a painful season. I think we're going to use it as motivation this summer so something like this doesn't happen again. Flip is his own man. He does things his own way. I think his coaching style is different than what we've had in the last few years."
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