Wizards, Randy Wittman Near Deal

THURSDAY, 9:23am: The third year in Wittman’s rumored deal would be a team option, reports Michael Lee of The Washington Post.

TUESDAY, 11:13pm: Wittman is set to receive between $3MM and $3.5MM a year, according to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link).

2:48pm: The Wizards are close to agreeing on a three-year deal for coach Randy Wittman, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Owner Ted Leonsis said earlier today that Wittman, who coached this season on an expiring contract, deserved to return, tweets Dianna Marie Russini of NBC News4 in Washington (hat tip to Michael Lee of The Washington Post). The news is no surprise, since Washington just completed its best postseason performance in 32 years, but there were rumors entering the playoffs that a first-round exit would spell the end of Wittman’s tenure in the nation’s capital.

Leonsis hesitated to resolve Wittman’s situation in the immediate wake of the team’s playoff run, preferring to let the “raw emotion” of the season pass. That was in contrast to the Blazers, who locked up Terry Stotts for three more years just one day after San Antonio eliminated Portland from the playoffs. A three-year deal for Wittman would give him a contract that runs longer than that of GM Ernie Grunfeld, who’s set to enter the final season of his deal in 2014/15, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Leonsis and Grunfeld talk extension this summer.

Wittman, 54, just finished his second full season as Wizards coach, having taken over for Flip Saunders at midseason in 2011/12. Washington is just 91-122 under Wittman’s direction, and he’s a woeful 191-329 overall in parts of eight seasons as an NBA head coach. Still, he engineered a 15-game improvement in the standings this past season, overseeing the club as it won its first second-round playoff game since 1982.

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