The rumors are light right now, but Eddie Jordan's sacking and the resultant ascension of exec-level Wizards man Ed Tapscott to the head coaching job seem more like an intermediate procedure than a final decision on who will run this team for the rest of 2008-09. Tapscott has a coaching career behind him, but he left the sidelines in 1990 and has been on the management side since.
The Washington Post's Ivan Carter describes Tapscott's most recent role as being considered an extra assistant coach who traveled with the team, but nothing in Tapscott's accordion file indicates he wants to be back on the sidelines for good. The interim role seems more like Ernie Grunfeld filling a hole with a trusted deputy.
That said, will the Wizards try to pull a big-name free agent coach?
Washington's problem with E.J. has been the 'Zards defense (no one questions Jordan's ability to devise an effective offense). Avery Johnson is available, but would seem to clash with the roster, which will include Gilbert Arenas for the foreseeable future. Flip Saunders seems like a match with every vacancy, based on his history of smart defensive schemes and the vaunted flex offense he teaches. Given the personnel involved, Saunders seems like someone Grunfeld would be interested in.
It's worth mentioning that the current assistant on the tips of all tongues -- Boston "defensive coordinator" Tom Thibodeau, a Van Gundy acolyte -- had originally signed on as Jordan's top assistant in 2007. But something happened, Thibodeau pulled out, and Doc Rivers ended up with one of the best defensive minds in the game on his bench. I doubt Boston wants the 'Zards sniffing around midseason, but if a vacancy exists there this summer it will be interesting to see if the facts surrounding Thibodeau's '07 reversal come into play.