Updates from Tuesday, June 3
The Wizards have reached an agreement on a contract extension with Coach Randy Wittman, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. The two sides got closer to completing a deal last week, when Wizards owner Ted Leonsis publicly stated that Wittman “deserves” the chance to come back.
A news conference announcing the deal is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Wizards have not disclosed the terms of the agreement, but Wittman will reportedly receive a three-year deal worth about $3 million per season. A person who has been in contact with the Wizards said the third season will be a team option.
Following one of the most successful seasons in franchise history, the Washington Wizards are set to reward head coach Randy Wittman with a three-year contract extension.
Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news on Twitter:
The Washington Wizards are near an agreement on a three-year contract extension with coach Randy Wittman, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 27, 2014
David Aldridge of NBA.com has the financial details of a potential new deal:
Wizards'3-yr deal w/Randy Wittman is in the $3-$3.5M range annually, per industry source. @WojYahooNBA first to report deal was close.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) May 27, 2014
As Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix pointed out in April, Washington likely had little time to waste:
Possible hot name on the coaching market: Washington's Randy Wittman. If Wiz beat the Bulls, Wittman--a free agent to be--could be in demand— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 22, 2014
Wittman took over for Flip Saunders midway through the 2011-12 campaign and has gone 91-122 over the past two-and-a-half seasons.
However, the 54-year-old led the resurgent Eastern Conference squad to a 44-38 record this past season, the Wizards' best since 2004-05. What's more, Wittman led Washington to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where the Wizards eventually fell in six games to the Indiana Pacers.
Washington's six postseason wins this spring was the franchise's most since it reached the 1979 NBA Finals as the Washington Bullets decades ago.
Following Washington's postseason exit, 15-year veteran Andre Miller had high praise for Wittman and his staff, per The Washington Post's Michael Lee:
Out of all of my 15 years, and I probably had 15 or 16 coaches too, that this is probably the best that I've been prepared going into games, going into playoffs. Just felt like the passion of the coaching staff filtered through the players and the players wanted to perform and work hard for the coaches. That says a lot just as far as the preparation. Guys took that to heart and went out and tried our best to work hard for the coaching staff.
Under Wittman's watchful eye, John Wall has developed into an All-Star-caliber point guard, and 2012 first-round draft pick Bradley Beal has blossomed into one of the league's most dangerous shooting guards.
The Wizards also improved defensively under Wittman, ranking ninth in the league in fewest points allowed last season.
Is Randy Wittman deserving of a three-year extension?
Although Wittman's long-term security will allow Washington to build off the momentum gained in 2013-14, the Wizards are set to enter a summer of uncertainty as starters Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza are set to become unrestricted free agents.
The two veterans played key roles for the Wizards last season and could potentially derail Washington's progress if they opt to sign elsewhere in July.
Nonetheless, by extending Wittman, the Wizards are establishing an excellent foundation that should propel them to new heights in the watered-down Eastern Conference.
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