Randy Wittman reaches agreement on contract extension as Wizards coach


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

The Wizards have reached an agreement on a contract extension with Coach Randy Wittman, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. The two sides got closer to completing a deal last week, when Wizards owner Ted Leonsis publicly stated that Wittman “deserves” the chance to come back.

A news conference announcing the deal is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Wizards have not disclosed the terms of the agreement, but Wittman will reportedly receive a three-year deal worth about $3 million per season. A person who has been in contact with the Wizards said the third season will be a team option.

Last season, Wittman led the Wizards to a 44-38 record, good enough for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards reached the playoffs for the first time since 2008, won a playoff series for the first time since 2005 and won two games in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1979.

Wittman joined the organization as the top assistant for Flip Saunders in 2009 and replaced Saunders as head coach in January 2012. In parts of three seasons with the franchise, Wittman has posted a 91-122 record but he has made the Wizards one of the league’s better defensive teams. The Wizards ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency in each of the past two seasons.

As a player, Wittman was drafted by the Bullets in 1983 but immediately traded to the Atlanta Hawks. After a nine-year NBA career ended with his hometown Indiana Pacers, he moved over into coaching as an assistant. He got his first job as a head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he went 62-104 in two seasons. He was also a midseason replacement in Minnesota. His career winning percentage of .367 (191-329) ranks as worst in league history among coaches with at least 400 games coached, but the Wizards have gone 69-63 over their last 132 regular season games. Wittman also received strong endorsements from John Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene and Andre Miller, among others.

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

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Michael Lee · May 31, 2014

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