In the least surprising news of the lockout-shortened season, the Wizards have fired coach Flip Saunders and replaced him with lead assistant Randy Wittman, multiple sources confirmed to CBSSports.com Tuesday.
Wittman will take over on an interim basis, paving the way for the Wizards to limp their way with some semblance of dignity to as high a lottery pick as possible. After that, sources say, widespread changes are expected.
"They need to clean house," one league front office source said.
Washington started the season 2-15, and hit rock bottom Monday night with a 103-83 loss in Philadelphia. Tempers flared during the first half of that game, as players were "upset about being subbed out" when the Wizards were down by as many as 30 points, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.
"At that point," the person said, "no one had the right to complain about anything."
Players were informed after the loss in Philadelphia that a coaching change was coming, a source said. But the writing had been on the wall since at least the eighth game of the season, Washington's eighth consecutive loss to start the season. After the 93-72 loss to Minnesota, Andray Blatche stated that the players had begun to tune Saunders out.
"Flip is definitely doing his job," Blatche said that night. "I just don't feel like guys are listening and following behind what he says and what he wants us to do."
The Wizards won their first game two nights later against Toronto, but things only got worse from there as they lost seven of their next eight. The lone victory came against the West's top team, Oklahoma City, but the string also included a putrid 64-point effort in a loss to the Bulls without Derrick Rose.