The Washington Wizards have reportedly fired coach Flip Saunders, elevating assistant Randy Wittman. I can't imagine that the former King Wittman, who has just an abysmal record as a head coach, will get the job beyond this season ... which means that Washington will be looking for a new head coach in May. Sacramento extended Keith Smart a team option for the 2012-13 season upon elevating him to head coach earlier this month, but that's a team option, and it's not terribly apparent that the Kings are on the path to the necessary wins to instill faith in Smart, for better or worse.
Chances are that both teams will be looking ... just like in 2009. That year, the Wizards moved swiftly, locking up Saunders to a four-year deal for a pretty penny ($16 million) soon after the season ended. The Kings moved slowly. Really slowly. They eventually settled on Paul Westphal for two years, $2.5 million in June, and picked up his team option for Year 3 (this season) after a surprisingly hot start. (That option turned out to be a bad but inexpensive idea.)
Will the same game play out in May? Will the flush Wiz -- bolstered by Ted Leonsis' warchest -- race to sign one of the league's top free agent coaches (whoever they may be)? Will the Maloofs, as broke as J.J. Hickson's jump shot, wait for someone to present themself for the lowest salary in the league? Will the Maloofs being in the process of selling and secretly taking cues on the major decisions from the incoming owner? (Bill Clinton for head coach!)
Chances are, the Wizards will be in the pole position again. What's not clear is whether there are any can't-miss options like Flip seemed to be in 2009.
The other question, of course: is Flip now in play for the Kings?