Wizards release preseason schedule; retain five assistant coaches

Just because the NBA has locked out its players, it doesn’t mean that the league can’t work hard to put together a schedule of games that may or may not happen. Although the NBA and its players haven’t met to discuss the labor dispute in more than two weeks, and the sides remain as far away as ever, the league released its full preseason schedule on Thursday, and the Wizards are slated to play eight games, with two at Verizon Center.

Unless the two sides can make some major progress in the upcoming weeks, these games are unlikely to ever occur. But the Wizards have certainly scheduled some quality opponents, with a home game against the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 21 and a finale on Oct. 28 in Miami against the defending Eastern Conference champion Heat — which will be televised on ESPN.

The Wizards will open the preseason at home against New York, then play the next three games on the road against Milwaukee (Oct. 15), Philadelphia (Oct. 17) and Cleveland (Oct. 19, at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati). They will also play at a home game against Memphis (Oct. 22) at a yet to be determined location and head to New York to play the Knicks on Oct. 26. The regular season opener is Nov. 2 at home against the New Jersey Nets.

Five Wizards assistant coaches have been retained, with Randy Wittman, Don Zierden, Sam Cassell, Ryan Saunders and Gene Banks all agreeing to new contracts this summer. Coach Flip Saunders is signed through the 2013-14 season and his assistants are all believed to have signed two-year deals to remain for the duration of Saunders’ contract.

Former assistants Mike Wells and Wes Unseld Jr. have both moved on, with Wells leaving to join Paul Hewitt’s staff at George Mason and Unseld Jr. departing to accept a bench job with new Golden State Warriors Coach Mark Jackson.

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.

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