While the team itself denies that there is any decision made, more and more reports are bubbling up that the Washington Wizards have decided to strip the interim tag off Randy Wittman and keep him as coach.
The latest such report comes from Ric Bucher at ESPN:
Had the Wizards won the draft lottery and earned the right to draft Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, the cost of investing in a higher-profile coach might’ve been worthwhile, a source said, but with the Wizards still in rebuilding mode and the job Wittman did with their young players last season, the team will stand pat for now.
Well, that’s a ringing endorsement. If we had a really great player we’d totally go get a top-flight coach, but because we’re still going to suck let’s save a few bucks and keep Wittman. John Wall must be thrilled.
Wittman was 18-31, which included a six-game winning streak to end the season, after taking over 17 games into the season for Flip Saunders. He certainly connected with and got more out of the roster than Flip, but the Wizards were not good either way.
Right now the main goal in Washington needs to be a roster changeover to one that is professional, that shows up to work prepared. The Nene for JaVale McGee trade was a step down that road, but more moves are expected (we’re looking at you, Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis). Wittman is a solid NBA coach, which apparently works for Washington.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.
Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.
Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.
Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.
The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.
BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.
The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.
In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.
Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.
New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.
That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.
First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.
The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.
Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.
That seemed odd.
In fact, it’s unprecedented.
That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron James‘ cachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.
Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.