The Washington Wizards fired Flip Saunders this morning. In an exclusive interview, Saunders spoke about his dismissal. Here are a few quotes from that interview:
* It’s disappointing never being able to finish the job. It’s always disappointing when your won-loss record isn’t there, so changes in this situation are not unusual. It happened this morning.
*I thought we showed some progress, not in the win and loss column, but some of our young players, and as you know, in this business, improvement comes in small and very painful increments. A lot of times, it’s not seen immediately, but more over time.
*I’ve been spent a lot of time with John and those young players and I’ve seen them improve, and the fruits of those improvements are going to be with someone else down the road.
*I was disappointed. When I took this job, there were very much unique challenges. Usually the focus was, I believe we had the opportunity to coach a veteran team that had a chance to make a run into the playoffs. That job description changed drastically, when we experienced the gun in the locker room situation. We went from a job with a totally different challenge, to all of a sudden survival mode, then immediately after that, into a developmental situation. I felt comfortable because I’ve developed a lot of young players over my career and it’s extremely challenging to develop so many players at the same time.
*When you’re a veteran coach, and you’ve been in championship-type situations, or conference finals, you have certain types of players you have the ability to really coach. And I think that, the dynamics of the job changed. Going into survival mode with the gun situation and pretty much keeping anything afloat. I think I imagined at any point in my career that I would be testifying in front of a grand jury two and half hours before a game. But I looked forward to the opportunity and even though the wins and losses had not been there – and I’ve got to take responsibility for that – because basically in the NBA, you can win or develop young players, but it’s difficult to do both at the same time.
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