Randy Wittman will return to coach the Washington Wizards for the 2012-2013 season. (Rob Carr, Getty Images)
The Washington Wizards have settled on the man to continue their rebuilding process. Randy Wittman, who served as the team's interim head coach after Flip Saunders' firing in January, will have the "interim" tag removed from his title for the 2012-2013 season, according to a team statement.
“We are excited to bring Randy back as head coach and give him the opportunity to build on the positive momentum that the team showed under his leadership last season,” Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld said in the statement. “We were very pleased with the development of our young players and the commitment to winning he instilled despite taking over the team under difficult circumstances.”
Previously a head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers, Wittman took over a cellar-dwelling Wizards team that was 2-15 under Saunders and led them to an 18-31 mark though the rest of 2011-2012, including a six game win streak to close out the season. Under Wittman's watch, the Wizards traded center JaVale McGee and shooting guard Nick Young to the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers respectively in exchange for center Nene and power forward Brian Cook. As a result, young players such as power forward Trevor Booker, center Kevin Seraphin and small forwards Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely saw minutes on the floor, steadily improving as the season progressed.
The Wizards hold the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and owner Ted Leonsis has indicated to the Washington Post that the team will also be active in the summer's free agent market.